The baking industry will today outline its opposition to the proposed 20% hike to VAT on hot savouries.
A delegation including Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, Mark Muncey, chairman of the Cornish Pasty Association and representatives of the National Association of Master Bakers are to meet staff from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Today is the last day of consultation on the matter before a second reading and the tax increase coming into effect later this autumn.
Yesterday, it was revealed that the potential pasty tax – which saw demonstrators hand in a petition with half a million names in at No 10 Downing Street – had wiped off £70m from the share value of the publicly listed Greggs.
And, the company also warned yesterday that the introduction of the tax would have severe consequences for its sales and profits, as it outlined an alternative tax measure.
Greggs said VAT should be charged on:
• All food kept in a heated environment after cooking
• All food re-heated to order
• All food supplied in heat-retaining packaging
The company, which also reported its like-for-like sales had slipped by 1.8%, claimed: “This will clearly differentiate between fresh bakery food and food that is being sold intentionally hot.”
And it added: “In addition, we are looking as a matter of urgency at how best we should respond to a number of possible outcomes on behalf of our shareholders, customers and staff.”
Mike Holling, chairman of the NAMB, said: "The tax could cost the industry one in 20 jobs and result in small bakers’ shops disappearing from our high streets. This tax is the tipping point – not just for the survival of the high street, but personally for small community bakers, who are already finding trading difficult at the moment.
"At a time when the government is working with Mary Portas to rejuvenate the high street, bakery shop closures would seem to contradict the government’s plans to support local community shopping."