A PETITION to try to overturn controversial Government plans to add VAT to hot pasties and pies has received huge support from South Tynesiders.
On Saturday, borough butchers Dicksons launched its Gazette-backed campaign against Chancellor George Osborne’s proposals to add a 20 per cent tax hike on hot takeaway food this October.
Already, MPs David Miliband and Stephen Hepburn have pledged their support and almost 1,000 loyal customers signed up with their backing over the weekend. Marketing manager, Elena Dickson, said: “We haven’t counted the signatures exactly, but at first glance there are more than 900, and it’s wonderful that so many of our customers have supported us so quickly.
“This is a very serious issue which could have a big effect on our business, so it’s good to know that our customers are aware of this and are backing our petition.”
The petition, which was launched under the banner ‘Protect Our Pastries’, reads: “We don’t think we or our customers should be penalised for providing our freshly-baked products through the day.
“If the Treasury goes ahead with this ‘pasty tax’, it will put considerable financial strain on my business and loss of customers.
“We already suffer through increased fuel costs, and this extra VAT will see the demise of a lot of small baker’s shops in the high street. Please reconsider your decision.”
Mr Osborne says he wants to remove an anomaly in which hot food takeaway chains are charged VAT while bakers avoid it. The industry insists products such as sausage rolls and pasties are not sold as hot food, but as freshly-cooked snacks which are kept warm.
Customers can sign the forms at any of Dicksons 21 outlets across the region until Friday or at the Gazette’s offices in Chapter Row, South Shields.