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  1. ITV Report

Pasty row rumbles on

The Government's official consultation on its controversial plans to impose VAT on hot takeaway food including pasties, sausage rolls and other hot savouries, ended last Friday.

But that didn't stop a group of mainly Cornish MPs from pressing the Treasury Minister David Gauke for further clarification during a special Commons debate.

The crunch issue is still regarding how hot the pasty has to be to become subject to VAT.

Greggs have insisted that their pastries are only hot as a result of the required baking process, and that they are not kept warm.

Hot takeaway food first became liable to VAT in 1984 when Chancellor Nigel Lawson explained what he meant, a definition read out today by the Cornish MP Stephen Gilbert.

From Lawson's explanation, he said: "The VAT extension to hot takeaway food which I announced in the budget applies to food and drink which has been deliberately heated so it can be consumed while still hot. It does not apply to food and drink which has cooled to room temperature by the time it is sold, or to things like pies and pasties, which are sold warm because they happen to be freshly baked, and not to be consumed while they are still hot."

He added: "That is fundamentally the difference between a meal cooked to order in a fish and chip shop or indeed a curry, or pizza, and a baked product which is simply hot as a result of its production but is naturally cooling over time."

Treasury Minister David Gauke, said: "The current situation is unfair, and it is right that we seek to change it."

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