Monday, 28 May 2012

Government backs down on pasty tax

This evening the Government has announced that it is backing down on its budget proposals for a pasty tax which would have created huge problems for the Cornish economy and Cornish jobs.

I'm delighted that the Government has listened to the views of the pasty makers and pasty eaters in Cornwall and around the UK. This proposal would have taken up to £40 million out of the Cornish economy alone as well as threatening 1100 jobs in the pasty industry and its supply chain. With this announcement, the pasty industry can go back to being the successful manufacturing sector of which Cornwall is so proud.

The new proposals are to only impose VAT on pasties and other baked goods where an attempt has been made to keep them hot. Pasties sold straight out of the oven - as most bakeries in Cornwall do - will continue to be exempt from VAT. This is the solution that the bakers themselves proposed and which I put forward to Nick Clegg alongside Mark Muncey of the Cornish Pasty Association when he was in Cornwall ten days ago.

This has been the little campaign that could. It started on budget evening with a discussion about the likely consequences of an obscure reference to rotisserie chickens in the budget paperwork. It quickly grew to more than 2,500 Facebook supporters within 24 hours. Since then we have seen marches in London and Falmouth, national newspaper front pages and tens of thousands of new supporters.

This campaign would not have been successful without the huge help and support of many thousands of people. But particular thanks to:
  • Stephen Gilbert MP and all the Cornish MPs; 
  • the Kernow King for organising the finest (but wettest) rally we have seen in a long while;
  • John Endacott for providing the hard numbers to back our case; 
  • John Ault of the Institute of Cornish Studies;
  • Rob Simmons of MK who also noticed it on the first night;
  • the Western Morning News and the Sun for their unfailing support; 
  • and, finally, to every pasty maker in Cornwall for making the best food known to man. 

No comments: