BAKERIES in Skegness have joined a national campaign opposing the government’s ‘pasty tax’ which they fear will ‘devastate’ their business.
Hundreds of customers at Curtis’s stores throughout Lincolnshire have signed a petition, pressurizing the government to revoke its budget decision to charge VAT for hot snacks.
Company director Neil Curtis said: “Any extra tax will have to be passed on to the customer, which we do reluctantly, and is likely to affect sales, which we certainly don’t want in the current economic situation.
“All we can do is put pressure on the government - we’ve got a few weeks to counteract what we see as a very unfair tax.
“There have been requests for extra petition sheets in many of our stores, so obviously there’s a consensus against this tax.”
Mr Curtis not only believes the tax to be unfair and detrimental to the economy, he also feels it has been poorly thought through and will be nearly impossible to enforce.
Under the proposed taxation law a hot snack is defined in relation to the ‘ambient temperature’ which means that whether or not a baked item is subject to VAT can vary depending on the weather outside.
“It leaves anomalies I don’t think they’ve thought through - how will they enforce it? Will they sit outside with thermometers - where will it end?” Mr Curtis added.
Signatures gathered by Curtis’s will support a nationwide campaign organised by the National Association of Master Bakers, which has scheduled a protest march in London on April 26 when thousands of objections will be presented to the government.
The association’s chief executive Gill Brooks-Lonican shares Mr Cutis’s concerns and fears the tax will have a far reaching impact on many of the country’s poorest people at a time when they can afford it the least.
She said: “It will have a devastating affect on high street businesses which are already struggling.
“There are a lot of poor people and a lot of unemployed people on benefits at the moment and they cannot afford fillet steak but they can have a pie or a sausage roll for their tea.
“A 20 per cent increase is a lot of money and if these people have to look for something cheaper, the bakers will have to look at their bottom line which could mean job losses and fewer orders for equipment manufactures - it’s going to affect everybody - not just those directly involved in the industry.”
To support the campaign, sign a petition in Curtis’s or sign the E-petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32044.