Ed Balls, the Labour shadow Chancellor, has slammed moves for a 20% hike in tax on pies and hot pasties - saying it was “symbolic of a government which has got its priorities mixed up”.
While the two Ps - petrol and pies - have meant a torrid week for the government, surprisingly Balls refused to permanently reverse the tax.
Instead, speaking to the Evening Standard, he called on the government to put its decision - a move that has been dubbed “pasty-gate” - on hold.
He said: “This is a classic case of ministers being told by officials at HMRC that this is tidying up and they suddenly find out this has happened. This looks to me like George Osborne has been taken by surprise by a more than ambient [temperature] sausage roll that has crept up behind him.”
And he added the move was “symbolic of a government which has got its priorities mixed up”, saying: “It’s a disastrous week for David Cameron. It’s a bad week for George Osborne. The mask has slipped. The idea of George Osborne, the great political strategist, has really taken a dent.”
Meanwhile the pie tax has continued to lead the headlines with a groundswell of opposition to the move growing, especially across the internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
British Baker has joined forces with the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) to oppose the move and our online petition at the Number 10 website has now broken the 500 signature barrier. You can add your name here on our e-petition. Or you can talk to other pie protestors at our dedicated Facebook page.
Other protest groups include: The Sun newspaper’s ‘Who VAT all the pies?’, the Cornish Pasty Society’s Don’t Tax My Pasty and Greggs, the BB75 bakery retailer, has petitions in its 1,500 stores across the country and also plans to leverage the power of the internet via its thousand of fans on Facebook.
Also, another MP has joined the row over taxing pies and pasties. Energy Secretary Ed Davey revealed he worked in a pork pie factory as a teenager.
Responding to a tongue-in-cheek question from a caller for a help warming up a pie, Mr Davey told Radio Five Live: “I love Cornish pasties myself. I once worked in a pork pie factory, so I know a little about pies. Maybe a politician shouldn’t admit to working in a pork pie factory.”
Davey, the MP for Kingston and Surbiton, also mentions his time at the pork pie factory on his website.