Budget 2012: Cornish pasty price rise fears

image captionHot Cornish pasties sold in supermarkets could be subject to 20% VAT

Imposing VAT on hot food such as Cornish pasties sold in supermarkets has been attacked by politicians in Cornwall.

The Treasury said the savoury favourites should be subject to 20% VAT.

The proposals to end "anomalies" in VAT were revealed in the Budget on Wednesday by Chancellor George Osborne.

Cornwall councillors say a rise would hit jobs in the county and the cash locals have to spend.

Liberal Democrat Alex Folkes said: "Pasties aren't just a symbol of Cornwall, they are a key part of our manufacturing economy and thousands of people in Cornwall are employed either directly or indirectly by the pasty industry.

"Raising the price of pasties, especially when the extra money goes to the government, not the firms, will cut sales and lead to job losses."

He added: "They are a very filling and cheap food, not a luxury."

Mebyon Kernow councillor Rob Simmonswrote on his blog: "If and when this legislation is introduced, your £2.50 medium steak pasty will now be £3, and your £3 large steak pasty will be £3.60.

"So that's money out of ordinary decent Cornish folks' pockets, a blow to our bakers and hardly great news for tourism."

Mr Osborne said in his Budget announcement that anomalies in VAT would be scrapped on 1 October.

The government has launched a consultation on the proposals, which will end on 4 May 2012.

Details of how to take part are available from theOffice of Tax Simplification.

Mark Muncey, chairman of the Cornish Pasty Association, said: "We were disappointed to learn about the introduction of 20% VAT on products served above ambient temperature and the potential consequences this decision might have for the Cornish pasty industry

"As an association we will be working with our members hoping to find ways to minimise the impact of any price increase to our consumers."

Research in 2005 by Cornwall Taste of the West showed the Cornish pasty was worth more than £150m a year to the county's economy.

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