How do you like your pasties in bed? Hot or cold?

28 March 2012

a mortally wounded pasty, yesterday.

Now, not everyone likes to eat pasties in bed, that may be something peculiar to Andy. Who is indeed very peculiar. But there is another amazing connection between pasties and beds that you might not be aware of, or even care about. But you should, because that connecting factor is the highly expensive VAT.

Most people have heard about the new VAT charge on food served hot, which already has a wardrobe full of monikers, from the sausage roll levy, to the pasty tax; the rotisserie chicken charge to the samosa tax, it all boils down to one thing- if you want hot food, it’s gonna cost you. 20% more to be precise.

But much to George’s (supposed) dismay, the country are not taking this lying down, and a number of interested parties are leading the charge (geddit) against the hot food tax. One such party is Greggs the baker, whose total share value fell after the tax was announced by a reported £30m, are supporting the Save our Savouries campaign and the company have warned they “will consider legal action if the Government does not back down on plans to introduce ‘a tax on food’.” Quite on what grounds they will challenge the Government’s right to implement tax changes is, as yet, unclear.

Greggs chief executive Ken McMeikan said he will be personally lobbying the Treasury and told the Journal “We want the Government to accept that this was an ill-thought through move which will harm growth and impact on businesses, individuals and act as counter-productive to the Government’s stated aims of growing the economy.”

And he is not alone. The entire population of Devon and Cornwall are getting behind the Cornish Pasty Protection Society* because a pasty can be eaten hot, cold or warm, and the new tax could potentially threaten hundreds of jobs.

The problem is with the draft rules as outlined in the current consultation. These rules levy a charge on food served at a temperature higher than the ambient temperature. This brings a multitude of problems. If Greggs start serving a long queue of sausage roll munchers, do they have to charge VAT only to those customers at the front of the queue, as by the end the food will have cooled sufficiently? What about a day like today when the ambient temperature is actually quite warm? Will Cornish pasties only be vatable in the winter? And do Greggs even intend to serve hot food? There are no hotplates, customers just happen to come across Steak Bakes when they have just come out of the oven.

All this and more will be discussed during the six week consultation period.

But what has any of this got to do with beds? Well, enterprising bed company Silentnight have observed the furore over charging VAT on hot food, and while VAT is unusually prominent in people’s minds, they have jumped on the sausage roll and are mounting their own VAT campaign.

Currently, beds are subject to standard rate (20%) VAT same as most other products. But Silentnight think that beds should actually be re-classified as ‘health products’ and subject to reduced rate VAT (5%) or exempted altogether.

The company, which sells 550,000 beds each year, said the health benefits of sleep are so huge that divans, headboards and mattresses should all be considered health products. “The bed is a health product,” said Adrian Fawcett, executive chairman, who also claimed that more rest could help reduce stress-related illness, the number of traffic accidents and even divorce rates.

We asked 1000 bed manufacturers and retailers whether they would like to charge less or no VAT on their beds. They all said yes. Unfortunately, we think this campaign has a sausage roll’s chance in the oven of making it into law. But it was a nice try, and has got us all thinking about eating savoury baked products in bed. Yum.

*this is not its real name. But you get the gist.

TOPICS:   Tax   Economy   High Street News

20 comments

  • will
    i get the mattress point; but headboards??
  • Touchwood
    Just serve cold and provide a microwave to warm the food after purchase. Simples.
  • Tweedskin
    Aren't they only allowed to charge the VAT if you're eating in the restaurant (hence the difference in price of take away and eat in in Pret/Starbucks etc..)?
  • ShakesHeadSadly
    What's the definition of Hot? If one person can eat food at a much higher temperature than somone else, will they avoid the tax? I suggest we all coat our mouths with wax/asbestos. FOR THE GOOD OF THE LAND!
  • Erm
    @Touchwood, Given that most places won't even allow mothers to warm up milk in microwaves for the threat of being sued or health & safety bollocks....depends which way the wind is blowing....do you really think they'd let customers heat food in a microwave they provide?
  • Capability S.
    What a fuss over nothing. Simply order your pasty cold, and then hold under your armpit for a few minutes to warm it up. Works in your pants too.
  • Cookie
    I'm bottling air! Good old fashioned lead polluted London air! It's next if the rice birds don't get us 1st! You know the same guy who added lead to petrol in the 20's was the same guy who put CFC's in fridges? Plus the reason we have lead polluted air is because the patent was/is held by the oil company he worked for? Thomas Midgley, Jr. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley,_Jr
  • Bond, B.
    Well I've wasted my time on this one. I thought it was 'Patsy in bed'. I always had a thing for Patsy Kensit in the 80's. It was my cock.
  • Boris
    This is an elementary problem with a simple solution. We can simply apply a standard temperature test, let's say 0 degrees Celsius for simplicity. Anything below this is 'cold' and anything at or above is 'warm'. A simple 'is it rock hard' test will do, no thermometer needed. My immoral foe Ken, is a vegetarian and wants all tasty food banned whilst I am a man of the people and like nothing better than gobbling down Greggs sausage treats.
  • Boris
    #borrisgobbles @greggs #spon
  • THE_TROOTH
    While we're all running around crying about hot pies and pasties, this government will be passing all sorts of laws against working-class people. Don't be distracted by this garbage. Keep your eye on the big picture. Distraction technique, classic right-wing game. right on comrades....
  • shoplifter
    Pasty Tax..... just look at osbourne`s response http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/mar/28/george-osborne-greggs-pasty-video?intcmp=239 Pasty faced twat
  • Stringer B.
    @ The Trooth Have you been drinking? Are you from Liverpool?
  • Bush B.
    The irony here is that the Pasty was never a hot meal, it was eaten by Tin & Copper Miners, the thick crimped side crust was for them to hold it whilst eating and was then thrown away because it would be contaminated with arsenic & heavy metals - Miners didn't have any way to heat up their lunch, it was cold.
  • Borat
    VAT is a joke anyway. What happened to the 15% rate that we all enjoyed a couple of years back?
  • Mike H.
    Unfortunately, Bush Baby, that's complete and utter, twaddle.
  • Dick
    What about a sandwich that is covered in cling film and been left in the window display on a hot day. Is that VATable? It is surely above ambient temperature.
  • Boris
    It seems that my system has been rejected. Fools. Dick may be on to a solution. All food heated by solar energy should be zero VAT. I look forwards to seeing large magnifying glass based windows on high streets throughout the land. I have heard that Crimson Ken has his own solution: twenty percent VAT on everything. He is a bad man and you should fear his dictatorial ways. I am a good man and will serve you well as King of London.
  • Anne
    The UK Government has decided on 20% VAT on Hot Pasties. WHO decided it should be 20%? Isn't that a tad over the top? Why not 5%? What does the EU says it should be because VAT is an EU own Resource?
  • How b.
    [...] How do you like your pasties in bed? Hot or cold? Now, not everyone likes to eat pasties in bed, that may be something peculiar to Andy. Who is indeed very peculiar. But there is another amazing connection between pasties and beds that you might not be aware of, or even care about. Read more on Bitterwallet [...]

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