I beg to differ with Will Self on the topic of pasties and arses: they are not “the most arsiform food known to humankind”, the crimped edge does not represent “an engorged perineum”, and the consumption of one is not, therefore, an act of “bum-munching.” Mr Self does however,
make a very pertinent link between the arse and the pasty which could happily be extended to those in Westminster dabbling in the dark arse art of the pasty tax.
In his budget this year, Mr Osborne announced that all takeaway food (except bread) would be subject to a 20% tax, inclusive of hot foods such as rotisserie chicken and pasties which are currently exempt from the “above air-ambient temperature” tax. Much of this may sound like an ‘arsiform emission’ but the consequences for Cornwall are significant.
The argument against pasties being taxed is that they are baked goods, like bread, intended to be eaten when cool. To add further insult, the tax will hit both bakeries and supermarkets alike, with no concessions to the smaller chains over the commercial beasts already sucking so much out of our high streets.
According to current statistics, the pasty industry in Cornwall employs 13,000 people and generates £150 million every year. The likes of ITV’s ‘Cornwall’ with Caroline Quentin, essentially a nauseating advertising campaign for high-end tourists and misleadingly masquerading as a documentary on Cornwall, demonstrates far too well what those outside of the county forget: that it is one of the poorest areas in the UK.
Ann Muller of the legendary Ann’s Pasties in Helston explains that, “This is basically a tax on the working man of Britain. “My hot pasties would go up by 50p from £2.75: for some people, that will make a big difference. I’m planning to put a sign up in the window: ‘Hot for the rich, and cold for the poor.’”
To claim the pasty – that symbol of industry, heritage and history that has so recently received its very own PGI, is no different to a battery-farmed supermarket rotisserie chicken is surely the biggest load of arse that has come out of Westminster in recent times.
The government’s consultation on the debate ends on May 4. To get involved in the debate, sign a petition in local participating bakeries, join the ‘Say No To The Pasty Tax’ group on Facebook or join the Pasty Tax March on April 29 in Falmouth. Read more on the pasty tax on Jessica Milln’s blog Beyond the Pasty … . Or, learn how to make your own homemade version here, tax-free cos you’re already at home.