PETITIONS calling for the Government to scrap its "pasty tax" have been placed in thousands of Greggs shops.
The Tyneside-based chain is calling on its customers to support the campaign and sign the petitions to stop sausage rolls and chicken bakes being hit with a new tax.
Chancellor George Osborne’s embarrassment over the issue is also being broadcast around the world as international media begin to take an interest in the debate.
An tax of 20% on hot takeaway foods was announced last month in the Government’s Budget.
Under the current arrangements, chicken bakes and other snacks are not affected by VAT.
Greggs’ finance director Richard Hutton last night said the firm had been delighted by the support it had received from its customers.
“The positive reaction to the petition we introduced in all our shops last Friday has been overwhelming,” he said.
“This fantastic support shows just how strongly people oppose the Chancellor’s proposal and reinforces our view that in campaigning against this tax we are doing the right thing for our customers and the bakery industry in Britain,” he added.
Mr Hutton called on other Greggs customers to support the petition in the hope that growing pressure would persuade the Government to reconsider its “ill-thought-through proposal”. Following the Budget, The Journal launched its Save Our Savories campaign calling on the chancellor to rethink his plans.
Hundreds of people have signed the coupons published in the newspaper or the petition online.
These will be passed on to Greggs before the company makes its submission to the Government.
And the issue has not been confined to the North East or even the UK, with the story being picked up by media organisations around the globe.
Both the New York Times and The Australian Eye have recently run articles explaining the issue of the pasty tax to their readership and highlighting the debate about who should shoulder the brunt of the Government’s austerity plans.
The New York Times reported on the uproar caused by the tax proposals on March 29.
“The issue has also revived memories of the poll tax and other unpopular measures imposed by previous Conservative party-led Governments that left many Britons feeling that their leaders were out of touch,” the newspaper reported.
The issue has also received attention from TV stations such as CNBC.