Angry sandwich shop owners are planning to call their toasted sandwiches ‘hot bread pasties’ in protest against unfair treatment by the Chancellor.
Under new rules, published last week, VAT will be charged on toasted sandwiches but not on pasties and savouries. The new regulations eased pressure on bakeries feeling the pinch – but kept the burden on sandwich shop owners. One shop owner is urging fellow sandwich-makers to describe toasted sandwiches as ‘hot bread pasties’ in a bid to highlight the unjustified rules.
Harvey Brown, who owns a Subway store in Exeter, Devon, said: “If the Chancellor thinks that scrapping the tax on pasties has put this issue to bed he’s very much mistaken.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone who can understand why toasted sandwiches should have VAT added but pasties shouldn’t.
“Just like pasties, they’re everyday foods which ordinary people rely on for a quick, filling affordable lunch. The government should treat sarnies the same as savouries.
“No-one wants the Chancellor to do a U-turn on his U-turn but he should have the courage to admit the whole thing has been a fiasco.
“It’s time to toast the tax entirely, just as they’ve done in Europe.
“Subway store owners have been swallowing the VAT ever since it was introduced. But I don’t know how much longer we can carry on doing that.
“Food costs are going up all the time and many store owners are really feeling the pinch. The time may come when we have to pass the VAT on to customers.”
More than two million Subs are sold each week in the UK. Earlier this year plans were announced to open 500 more Subway stores in the UK over the next three years – bringing the total to about 2,000.
Mr Brown said: “That would bring the total number of jobs created by Subway to 30,000 but the Government obviously doesn’t value that job creation plan.
“The Chancellor is, in effect, telling sandwich shop owners they’re second class citizens and that bakers are more important.
“I’ve nothing against bakers. Pasties shouldn’t be taxed, but neither should toasties.
“What really gets me angry is that Subway has bent over backwards to help the Government meet its targets on health.
“We’ve signed all four of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal pledges – to cut salt, reduce calories, display calorie information and eliminate trans fats – and this is our reward.
“Greggs hasn’t signed the salt reduction pledge or the calorie reduction pledge.”
Brown is also calling on sandwich fans to write to their MP and email the Chancellor and show their support for the toasted sarnie.