George Osborne has been mocked by MPs over his “pasty tax” after it emerged people could avoid paying VAT on hot baked goods if they wait for them to cool in the shop.
The tax status of Cornish pasties has caused an unexpected backlash against the Chancellor, after he imposed VAT on hot baked goods bought from supermarkets and bakers in the Budget.
Greggs, the high street chain, has warned extra VAT on the hot snacks will cause a decline in sales, while businesses in the south-west are claiming there could be job losses in the Cornish pasty industry…
MPs on the Treasury Select Committee also made fun of the fact the Chancellor “can’t remember” when he last bought a pasty from Greggs. “That sums it up,” said Mr Mann, implying the Chancellor’s experience of hot snack consumption on the high street may be limited.
Raising one potential problem, John Mann, a Labour MP, said a lukewarm pastry would be taxable in warm weather, but not in cold weather, because of different “ambient temperatures”.
Mr Osborne insisted the tax made sense, but said the Government would not check the temperature of every pasty sold…
“The way we operate with companies and large retail chains and the like is that we don’t do a check on every product sold. We come to an agreement with companies over what proportion of their products are sold hot.”
The clown prince is appearing before elected representatives in Parliament – not only trying to defend this silly regulation; but, I presume he’ll detail each differentiation according to weather, demographics, seasoning, fat content and – no doubt – who’s winning the football match where it’s being consumed.