Friday, 23 March 2012

Pasty Tax round-up

It's been a hectic 24 hours working with many others to try to stop the imposition of 20% VAT on pasties.

Late on Thursday night I noticed that the small print of George Osborne's statement contained the implication that VAT would be applied to pasties sold through bakeries and supermarkets for the first time. I wrote a blog post about it and scheduled it to run first thing on Friday morning.

I wasn't alone. Twitter-user @MrsTrevithick also saw this and tweeted leading to Rob Simmons also blogging. Gregg's the bakers also pledged to fight the tax which would hit them hard (their shares fell by £20m following the budget announcement).

I also set up the Facebook campaign group with the outside hope that we might get a thousand members by the end of the day. In fact, by the time I went to bed last night there were 2500 members and it was still growing.

As a result the local media picked it up. This is Cornwall, the Packet, Radio Cornwall and Atlantic FM all ran the story and this led to the nationals also joining in with both the Sun and Daily Mail running the story today, alongside the Western Morning News.

During the budget debate in the House of Commons yesterday, both Andrew George and Stephen Gilbert raised the issue and last night I made the case to Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander during a Lib Dem tele-conference.

Where are we now?

The VAT changes, including the pasty tax, are out for public consultation. This means that you can have your say. Please do by May 4th. The email to write to is david.roberts4@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

The results of the survey will be fed through to ministers before MPs vote on the changes in the summer. Any changes will come into force in October.

What else can you do?

Most importantly, please have your say in the consultation. But you can also sign an e-petition set up on the Government website. And please join the Facebook group and encourage your family and friends to do so.

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