‘Pastygate’ reaches fever pitch

 - Published:  29 March, 2012

Protests over the proposed pie tax reached fever pitch yesterday, going viral on the internet and leading the news agenda.

The topic of the government’s proposal to tax hot food products, such as pies, pasties and sausage rolls, by 20% was featured on last night’s episode of BBC's Newsnight. Labour MP John Mann, who challenged George Osborne in the House of Commons over when the Chancellor last bought a pasty, spoke on the programme.

Referring to his decision to challenge Osborne, Mann said: “I think the big significance was that it was predictable, I knew what the reaction would be before I asked the question and I suspected he wouldn’t know, because he hadn’t done.

“Why it matters is not whether George Osborne eats Greggs’ pasties or not, but it shows how out of touch the top of the Conservative party is in not realising how vulnerable they would be on this issue – and not least because they don’t have a coherent policy on this issue. You cannot put VAT on pasties in this way.”

Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, appeared on the programme on Tuesday (27 March), and said: "I do fear there are going to be job losses and closures of businesses as a result of this."

David Cameron made a blunder over his last hot pasty purchase yesterday, which he stated was in Leeds railway station from The West Cornwall Pasty Company. However, the company has not operated an outlet from this location for five years, according to BBC’s Newsnight.

Labour party leader Ed Miliband decided to make a tactical visit to Greggs in Redditch with members of his party, purchasing eight sausage rolls.

National tabloid and broadsheet newspapers have also heavily featured the issue on today’s front pages (29 March), with The Daily Telegraph printing ‘Oh, crumbs… PM’s trial by pasty’ and The Daily Mail saying ‘Pasties, petrol and the politics of panic’.

British Baker’s own campaign, Say NO to the 20% Pie Tax, has picked up pace since it launched on Monday (26 March), accumulating almost 300 signatures on an e-petition on the HM Government website, a dedicated Facebook page and a Twitter hashtag #NOpietax, which is being discussed on British Baker’s Twitter feed.

Other campaigns such as The Sun newspaper’s ‘Who VAT all the pies?’ is putting further pressure on the government over its decision to tax hot pastries.

The Cornish Pasty Society has also set up its own website called Don’t Tax My Pasty and is drumming up support by creating merchandise such as t-shirts and posters. It is donating a portion of its profits to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

JOIN BRITISH BAKER’S CRUSADE

You can join our dedicated campaign, Say NO to the 20% Pie Tax, opposing the government’s decision to place VAT on hot products by:

Liking the Facebook page: Say NO to the 20% Pie Tax

Joining the debate on Twitter: @BritishBaker and hashtag #NOpietax

Signing the e-petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32044




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