HUNDREDS of thousands of Greggs customers have raised the pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to scrap a tax on pasties.
More than 200,000 customers have signed the baker’s in-store petitions and the number is rising every day.
It comes as more than 2,500 people signed up to the Gazette backed Protect Our Pasties campaign by South Tyneside business Dickson’s, which also calls for the Government to abolish the planned tax.
The Chancellor announced in his March budget that hot takeaway items like pasties, steak bakes and sausage rolls would be hit with a 20 per cent tax.
But the plans provoked a furious backlash from consumers worried about food costs and businesses concerned it will drive customers away. Richard Hutton, Greggs finance director, said the firm had received an “overwhelming response from customers”.
He added: “In the first week of the petition more than 200,000 people have already signed up, with the number rising daily.
“I’d encourage people to continue signing up to the campaign.
“That will allow us to make the strongest possible case on behalf of customers when we take the petition to Downing Street later this month.”
Dickson’s which has been based in South Shields for 59 years is similarly overwhelmed by the support the firm is getting.
Managing director Michael Dickson said: “In less than a week we have had more than 2,500 signatures on our petition, quite a significant number for a regional business like ours.
“If this type of response is being echoed around the country, the Chancellor will be forced to sit up and listen.
“Within hours of launching the petition in store, every one of our shops had run out of their original petitions and was asking for more. So strong is the feeling among our customers that this is a tax too far that our shop staff say they haven’t needed to ask people to sign but rather customers have been coming in specifically to sign the petition.
“The sheer volume of signatures on our petition just goes to prove the strength of feeling which can’t be ignored.”