The new Pasty Tax is here. Now it’s the Great British Roast tax…
When someone says “Great British Roast” to you, what comes to mind? A side of beef dripping with gravy and nestling in a Yorkshire pudding? Fresh Welsh Lamb with rosemary, mint and new potatoes? Saddleback pork and crackling with Bramley Apple sauce?
Well you’re all wrong. Apparently the ‘Great British Roast’ is a tepid chicken in a bag from a supermarket. That’s right, Morrisons and the British Poultry Council have decided to launch a new campaign protesting at the new VAT charge on some hot food which will start to apply to rotisserie chickens from 1 October.
The emotive “Don’t tax our roast” campaign launched yesterday and, people can sign a nationwide petition against the tax by text, online, or by using a freepost reply card obtained at rotisserie chicken counters at Morrisons stores. Signage and customer information at Morrisons rotisserie chicken counters will also be used to raise awareness of the impact of the new tax, and to remind people that although pasties have won, the poor chicken has not.
While the new VAT charge was intended to level the playing field- food sold as hot takeaway food such as fish and chips is already liable to VAT- the campaign organisers are arguing that hot chickens should be exempted along with pasties. Hot baked goods were allowed to escape the charge because they are not deliberately kept hot, and some customers may in fact buy goods once they had cooled beyond the “ambient temperature”. However, for food safety reasons, hot chickens need to be kept hot. Or at least warm. Ish.
Morrisons maintain that rotisserie chickens are not sold as takeaway food, with more than four in every five Morrisons shoppers purchasing their roast-in-a-bag to eat later and after adding other foods such as potatoes or vegetables to make a main meal. Jamie Winter, fresh food director at Morrisons, said: “It’s unfair to take a ‘catch all’ approach without accepting that there will almost always be important exceptions. The simple fact is that our customers buy their whole rotisserie chicken as part of their weekly shop, not as a takeaway. Our customers tell us that they simply cannot pay more in these difficult times. That’s why we’re helping them to fight this unfair tax on the Great British Roast.”
Whether there is as strong feeling for hot chickens as there was for sausage rolls remains to be seen. However, the whole campaign sounds a bit reheated to us…