Pasty Tax u-turn shows plan was half baked
12:09pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Skipper
So, the government’s much-criticised “pasty tax” plans have been scrapped after protests from across the Duchy.
I’ve got to say, although I am delighted to see the end of these ill-thought-out idiotic proposals, it will be a sad day to lose such a pun-friendly story from the news pages.
From the fact the VAT plans were “half-baked” to begin with, to the frankly “flaky” thinking behind the proposals, it was clearly a dream for tabloid journalists across the country.
However, despite the fact it was a gift to headline writers, the policy was fatally flawed from the very beginning.
Desperate to find yet another way to take more money from the taxpayer, the idea of raising more than £35 million from pasty eaters must have felt like taking candy from a baby.
The only problem was how to close the loophole that saw food sold hot being exempt from VAT.
Therefore the government came up with the wonderfully ambivalent phrase that food sold “above ambient temperature” would be subject to VAT.
Did it mean if you kept your room heated to 70C you could sell your pasties hot and tax-free?
Did it also mean we would be treated to the sight of tax inspectors clutching thermometers visiting Cornish pasty shops?
Although these problems were pointed out immediately to the government, there was no sign of an immediate U-turn.
In fact, it merely prompted embarrassing claims of love for pasties from leading politicians from all sides (with an especially cringe-worthy appearance by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls in a pasty shop), while Mr Osborne insisted it was the right thing to do.
The whole fiasco has done nothing but damage further the reputation of politicians in the UK, while simultaneously demonstrating just how powerful the Cornish lobby can be when we are provoked enough.