Greggs in Redhill starts 'pasty tax' petition
BAKERS in Surrey have rallied against the Government's much-criticised "pasty tax" and Greggs in Redhill has even taken the drastic step of setting up an anti-pasty tax petition.
Hot food sold from supermarkets and bakeries was exempt from VAT, but it will now will be subject to 20 per cent VAT if it is above "the ambient room temperature".
The new tax has been branded "ridiculous" by local bakers, who feel it is unfair to charge people extra just for wanting their food hot instead of cold.
Megan Harries-Rees, 24, who manages the family bakers Coughlans Bakery in Oxted, said there was a worry that the increased price may drive customers away.
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"I think it's ridiculous because we're a family bakery and everything we make here is freshly made on the day and it's just stupid that someone who buys something hot from us has to pay more but something we put in the cold section that's been out a bit longer will be cheaper," she said.
She said that because the tax had not come in yet – the VAT exemption ends on May 4 – there was just a lot of talk about it but that more should be done now to oppose it before it is too late.
"I think we'll start to get some complaints about the prices, but there's really nothing we can do and it just shouldn't happen," said Ms Harries-Rees. "I think people need to be more against it, it's just stupid."
Taking the opposition a step further is Greggs, which has set up a petition.
Although staff at Greggs were unable to comment, dozens of people have so far signed the petition at the Station Road bakery in Redhill and workers hope many more will sign in the near future.
Stewart West, who is a partner at family bakers The Oven Fresh Bakery in Reigate, said the biggest problem with the pasty tax was the confusion about what products will be affected.
"On the whole any increase in prices is not going to help, especially in the current climate," he said.
"The problem won't affect us too much because a lot of our products are sold cold anyway but it's very confusing.
"Just because a pasty is served hot it doesn't mean it should be considered a luxury – it really doesn't make sense."