Shoppers flock to join pasty tax protest

Save our pasty ... left, Gazette editor John Szymanski, Eleana Dickson, marketing manager, and Diane Pounder.
Save our pasty ... left, Gazette editor John Szymanski, Eleana Dickson, marketing manager, and Diane Pounder.

They were responding to calls from Dicksons to help overturn plans to add 20 per cent VAT to some pies and pasties.

There was more good news for the Gazette-backed campaign when Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn became the latest member to condemn the plan.

He said: “It just goes to show how out of touch the Government is when it slaps 20 per cent on the price of basic food such as a pasty, while at the same time giving tax cuts to the richest.”

The petition, launched today under the banner ‘Protect Our Pastries’, also has the backing of the Gazette.

It reads: “We don’t think we or our customers should be penalised for providing our freshly-baked products through the day.

“If the Treasury go 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.”

Chancellor George Osborne says he wants to remove an anomaly in which hot food takeaway chains are charged VAT while bakers avoid it.

The industry insists foods such as sausage rolls and pasties are not sold as hot food, but as freshly-cooked food which is kept warm.

Dicksons employs 250 people in the North East.

Marketing manager, Elena Dickson, said: “It is great the petition is being so well supported.

“We hope this will send a strong message to the Government over the negative impact this tax would have on businesses such as ours if it is not scrapped.”

The petition, which is available to be signed at the firms 21 North-East outlets.

You can print out your own petition by clicking here. Once it’s full, return it to any of the above outlets.

It was praised by Gazette editor John Szymanski, who said: “This is clearly a ludicrous tax.

“I would urge everyone to sign the petition against what is potentially a very damaging proposal.

“Dicksons is a South Tyneside success story, and that must be allowed to continue without this threat to its business.”

Dicksons opened its first store in Prince Edward Road, South Shields, from where it still trades, in 1953.

South Shields MP David Miliband has also backed the petition, accusing Mr Osborne of being out of touch.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette