Thursday, 29 March 2012

Holy Crap a Pasty tax!

Marie Antoinette is famously reported to have said to starving French Peasants; "Let them eat cake" (although as an Austrian she probably said a word that is not very nice in German that sounds like cake.)

Now the Coalition are saying - let them eat Pasties... but be prepared to pay the VAT man.

In this years budget a rise in VAT on hot baked goods has become the rallying point for dissenters and Labour, who, by the way, didn't turn up in Parliament to vote for the removal of the 50p income tax rate for high earners (as the motion was passed by some 300 MPs vs 20 something.) but raise the pasty by 20p each and you're looking at all out rebellion.

Some argue that this tax on the humble meal of choice for tin miners from yesteryear is an attack on the humble working man whilst Caviar, Pheasant and Bollinger remain untouched.

This, in my humble opinion is absolute rot.

Yes, it does seem like the humble pasty is going the same way as cigarettes and beer but at the same time growing obesity levels and weight related illness are affecting the country in a negative way and the state is having to foot the bill. Strangely National insurance doesn't cover all of the expensive treatments that need to be carried out.

You may recall that I was originally against a Fat tax, writing back in October that it was unfair to take my last Vice away and it wreaked of the Government telling the people what it can and can't do.

Well, I've changed my mind somewhat over the past few months and am wondering whether the Government is trying to sneak a move to eat more healthily in under the radar and shouldn't we as a nation (that includes you Labour) be trying to help people have better diets and lifestyles?

I must admit that I need to lose weight. I've been telling myself I'm going to take up running, cut down on the greasy Mac goodness and even on the night my daughter was born and I staggered home from the hospital with a large "Meat and Chips" from the only eatery open at that time - This would be my last box of greasy "Meat" covered in burger sauce as now I had a responsibility to baby Sophie to see her grow up rather than get struck down by a Heart attack in my 40's.

Two years and probably 20 Meat and chips later and I've not changed. Half of the reason I eat crap is because it is affordable and it is available.
Using myself as a case study point, I can say hand on heart as food prices at MacDonald's have risen the more disinclined I am to eat there. When I worked for the company a decade ago the Double Cheeseburger was 99p. Bargain! Now its' £1.49 maybe more if at a franchise. I am disinclined to pay that and will seek an alternative elsewhere.
(That said, I do love Burger king burgers but they are too pricey so they are reserved for a special treat!)

In the Guardian article "Pasty tax, easy as pie" it is suggested that a large Cornish Pasty will rise to £4.95. Holy Crap we're going to starve there's no food about!!!! Lets storm the Winter palace and put Cameron and Clegg's heads on spikes... Oh wait hang on... I can go to Aldi and buy the ingredients for a sandwich (some good sandwich meat, bread, lettuce, orange juice and a yogurt) for a similar price and that will feed me for a week... what kind of financial wizardry is this?

This is not a move to price the common man out of the food market, there are plenty of viable healthier alternatives to enjoy. Heck for £10's you can go to Marks & Sparks and get a three course meal for two which is the similar price to buying two new taxed pasties one for your wife and one for you.

The fact also remains that Heart disease kills a heck of a lot of people in this country and that diet related sickness is a major cause for concern. Smoking and drinking is already taxed so why not some fatty foods? Treating people with illnesses related to poor diet costs the NHS money so why can't revenue be gathered to put into the NHS and education to try and avert the inevitable?

What I don't understand is Labour's position in not challenging the cut in the 50p income tax rate - something they spent all of last week harping on about (millionaires budget) - but are up in arms about this measure which could ultimately mean real income for the NHS to block one of the major strains on its budget and a major health concern for the nation.


  1. On your last point; our policy announcement yesterday did attack your tax cut for millionaires and:

    1. Yet no one turned up at parlaiment to vote against it? 22 odd votes vs 300 odd pretty poor wouldn't you say?

      If the party is opposed to it why not oppose it?