Toasties taxed: Pasties escaped but a string of other foods have been hit by a 20% price hike

From 1 October, toasted sandwiches and rotisserie chicken have 20% more tax put on them following VAT changes.

The pasty tax was scrapped, but what you may have missed in the celebrations that sausage rolls, pies and pasties could keep their tax-free status was that a lot of those tings wouldn’t.

From this week “hot takeaway food” has VAT applied to it for the first time – adding 20% to the price of toasted sandwiches and rotisserie chicken.

The tax hike was meant to end the quirk that saw hot takeaway food like burgers taxed, but toasties and other hot food escape.

A public campaign managed to block the tax hike when applied to some foods – finding a loophole where food could be cooked on site and still served VAT free – but not everything escaped.

"The Budget announced a consultation on a change to VAT on hot takeaway food, designed to remove inconsistency and ambiguity in the system and level the playing field across the takeaway food market,” a spokesperson from the Treasury said after scrapping the pasty tax.

"After extensive engagement we have improved the policy, addressing practical concerns, ensuring that the new regime could be as simple as possible to apply.

"We have addressed these in a way that allows us to remove the inconsistent VAT treatment, while not imposing any additional requirement on businesses to test the temperature of their products."

But people are baffled how the same sandwich can cost more if the cheese is melted while proposed taxes on rotisserie chicken have sparked outrage.

Fowl tax is unfair

"This proposed tax on roast chickens isn't targeting junk food or unhealthy snacks but will make it harder for families to put a wholesome hot meal on the table,” said NetMums founder Siobhan Freegard.

“The simple fact is that our customers buy their whole rotisserie chicken as part of their weekly shop, not as a takeaway,” said Jamie Winter, Fresh Food Director at Morrisons.

“Our customers tell us that they simply cannot pay more in these difficult times.”

The way the tax is applied also causing concern – where fresh chickens roasted in store are taxed, but cooked chicken bought from the fridges isn’t.

“It is a sad irony that this 20% VAT tax will not apply to imports of already-cooked chicken meat coming from countries like Thailand, and our Government is now making it even harder for British chicken farmers to compete on our own markets,” said Peter Bradnock of the British Poultry Council.

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