Tax on take-out fa­vorites proves hard to di­gest

The Washington Times Daily - - Business -

LONDON | The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to tax the hum­ble Cor­nish pasty, a re­gional savory snack much beloved by work­ers and stu­dents, has opened a new front in the coun­try’s never-end­ing class war.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ge­orge Os­borne last week an­nounced he would close a loop­hole that al­lowed some fresh-baked take-away items — in­clud­ing pies, sausage rolls and pasties — to es­cape the 20 per­cent sales tax.

The move, how­ever, caused a me­dia storm, with tabloid head­lines por­tray­ing the new tax as an at­tack by the Con­ser­va­tive-led gov­ern­ment on work­ing-class life.

“I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I bought a pasty in Greggs,” Mr. Os­borne told a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on Tues­day, re­fer­ring to a snack­shop chain.

“That kind of sums it up,” re­sponded La­bor Party law­maker John Mann, a for­mer union of­fi­cial.

So, at a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day, os­ten­si­bly to dis­cuss the up­com­ing London Olympics, Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron was com­pelled to pledge al­le­giance to the pasty, a mix­ture of meat and veg­eta­bles in a pas­try crust typ­i­cal of south­west­ern Eng­land.

“I am a pasty eater my­self,” he de­clared to re­porters.

Mr. Cameron said he last ate one in Leeds, though not at a Greggs. “I have a feel­ing I opted for the large one, and very good it was, too,” the Ox­ford-ed­u­cated prime min­is­ter said.

Greggs bak­eries, a pur­veyor of fast-food, in­clud­ing 140 mil­lion sausage rolls per year, saw its shares slump 5.5 per­cent on news of the new tax.

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