LONDON — Hundreds of bakers wearing chefs’ hats protested outside Downing Street on Thursday against the government’s plan to introduce a “pasty tax”.
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Chancellor George Osborne announced last month that Cornish pasties and other hot takeaway snacks will be subject to 20% VAT.
Carrying pasties and wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “SOS – save our savouries,” the protesters delivered a petition signed by half a million people opposing the tax announced in this year’s budget.
The government has come under fire over the plans, with MPs from Cornwall trying unsuccessfully to block the move in a House of Commons debate this month.
The protest was organised by high street bakery Greggs and the National Association of Master Bakers.
Some cars beeped their horns in support as they drove past the protest in London’s Whitehall.
The Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay, Stephen Gilbert, is among those campaigning against the tax.
“I urge the government to listen to the strength of feeling being demonstrated today and review their unworkable and damaging proposal,” the MP said ahead of the protest.
“It is simply wrong for the government to impose a tax on the humble Cornish pasty while luxurious caviar remains tax-free,” he said, adding the move could lead to 400 job cuts and losses of £7.5 million to the Cornish economy.
Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the move, saying it was unfair that pasties and snacks were not covered by the tax, unlike other takeaway foods such as fish and chips.
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