A group of MPs has again questioned the decision to put 20% VAT on hot baked goods.
The discussion in parliament yesterday came after the influential International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on the UK government to actually lower VAT to stimulate the economy.
Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert, who had previously tabled an amendment to get the pasty tax dropped, told fellow MPs the move could lead to 2,000 jobs losses and force the closure of 300 bakeries.
He said: “The government’s proposals are unenforceable, they’re undeliverable by business, they replace one set of anomalies with another, they are likely to be heavily contested and they will do significant damage to the Cornish economy and high streets across our country.”
Labour’s John Mann claimed the proposals had been put forward by an “out of touch, anti-English, inept on detail Treasury team and government” and urged them to “do the decent thing for England, get rid of this nonsense”.
A consultation on the pasty tax issue closed last week and saw a last-minute meeting take place between tax officials and members of the baking industry.
Mike Holling, of Bird’s of Derby, chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers, was at the meeting, along with Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs and Mark Muncey, chairman of the Cornish Pasty Association. He told British Baker: “The meeting was a very positive one and we were allowed to get our point across to them about how much harm this legislation will do to the industry.”
Ken McMeikan, speaking at the conference of Scottish Bakers recently, also told delegates he would fight the VAT issue to the “bitter end”.
Earlier this week, British Baker published the list of MPs who had supported the pasty tax by not voting for Gilbert’s amendment. You can view the list here: http://tinyurl.com/c2byfgt
You can also join the campaign’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/saynotopietax or you can sign the e-petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32044.