Ginsters’ £100,000 government donation during ‘pasty tax’

Samworth Brothers’ director Mark Samworth has handed over £100,000 to the Conservative Party, at the same time the now-scrapped ‘pasty tax’ was announced.

Samworth of the Melton Mowbray-based food company, which owns the Ginsters pasty business, made a series of personal donations to the political party at the end of last month, according to the latest information from the Electoral Commission.

The move came a month after Chancellor George Osborne outlined proposals to add 20% VAT to hot takeaway bakery products in the financial Budget, and weeks before the government’s U-turn on the ‘pasty tax’.

The company released a statement, which said: “The donation was made in a personal capacity and has no connection to the business. Mark Samworth has made similar donations for a number of years at around the same time of year.”

Figures during the first quarter of 2012 detailed three separate transactions made by Samworth to the Conservatives. It included a £90,000 donation to its central office, £5,000 for the Rutland and Melton branch and £5,000 to its Rushcliffe constituency.

A spokesman said: “Ginsters has made no representations to government on this issue. The hot pasty tax has an impact on Ginsters and we signed the Cornish Pasty Association protest petition against the tax. Over the past 18 months, Ginsters has been rolling out a hot pasty concept – ‘Have me hot’ – in service stations, on the rail network and coffee shop locations and this is a developing business for us. We are keen to see a thriving ‘hot’ Cornish pasty sector.”

Ginsters opened its first-ever retail outlet at Manchester’s Victoria railway station last March – a 450sq ft hot food branded outlet, which went on trial in late December 2010.

The Cornish pasty business currently employs 785 members of staff, predominantly at its Callington bakery site, and was acquired by the Samworth Brothers back in 1977.

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