MEPs claim European regulations are behind ‘pasty tax’

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THE ‘nonsense’ tax proposed for hot snacks which has outraged local bakeries was ‘foisted on the UK through EU regulations’, an East Midlands MEP claims.

UKIP’s Roger Helmer believes the chancellor’s latest budget proposal to introduce VAT on hot snacks was necessary to remedy a breach in European tax law.

In charging VAT on certain food products but not all, Mr Helmer believes the government had failed to conform with the EU’s Sixth VAT Directive, introduced to provide a uniform basis of assessment.

He said; “The government was left with a choice - either it zero-rated all warm takeaway food, or slapped VAT on all hot food - it is no surprise which way they went.”

Mr Helmer and his fellow UKIP MEP, Derek Clark, have labelled George Osborne’s so called ‘pasty tax’ as ‘ludicrous’ and support the local bakeries in their opposition to it.

Mr Clark said: “I have never seen such a ludicrous way of raising a few bob and making traders’ lives yet more complicated.”

Mr Helmer believes ‘nonsense’ taxation issues such as these indicate that Britain would be better off out of Europe.

He said: “We in Britain should be free to set out own taxes in our own democratically-elected institutions - then this kind of nonsense would not arise.

“We’d be better off out of the EU.”

Meanwhile, local bakeries such as Curtis on Skegness High Street have urged their customers to sign a petition opposing the proposed induction of VAT.

Nationally, hundreds of bakers led by the Master Association of Bakeries have marched on Whitehall to demonstrate against the 20 per cent tax.

Six representatives from the baking industry, joined by Cornish MPs, have also presented a petition of nearly 500,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street.