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Campaign Calls on UK Government to Roast the Chicken Tax

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Campaign Calls on UK Government to Roast the Chicken Tax

Campaign Calls on UK Government to Roast the Chicken Tax
September 12
11:00 2012

A new campaign unites industry and consumers to fight Government plans to tax the ‘Great British Roast’. On 1 October, current Government proposals to add VAT to the sale of whole rotisserie chickens will come into force. The British Poultry Council (BPC) and retailer Morrisons believe this is an unfair tax that will hit budget conscious shoppers who use rotisserie chickens in their family meals. With rotisserie chickens sold in shops across the UK forming the basis of traditional Sunday dinners, the organisations have joined forces to help people tell Government “Don’t Tax Our Roast”.

People can sign a nationwide petition against the tax by text, online, or by using a freepost reply card obtained at rotisserie chicken counters at Morrisons stores. Signage and customer information at Morrisons rotisserie chicken counters will also be used to raise awareness of the impact of the new tax, commonly associated with pasties, on rotisserie chickens.

The tax will be introduced through proposals unveiled in the March budget to add VAT to all food that is sold hot, classifying it as a take-away food. But research shows that people do not purchase a whole rotisserie chicken to eat in the same way as they would a take-away meal. More than four in every five Morrisons shoppers instead purchase their rotisserie chicken to eat later and after adding other foods such as potatoes or vegetables to make a main meal, like the traditional Sunday Roast.

To address similar anomalies created by the tax, the proposals were previously revised to allow hot food left on the shelf to cool down to have a 0% VAT rate. Whilst this has addressed issues with some foods, such as pasties and pies, it has not solved the problem for rotisserie chickens which, for food safety reasons, cannot be left to cool down for a prolonged period in the same way.

The British Poultry Council represents poultry suppliers across the UK who are backing this campaign, including MoyPark and Cargill who supply Morrisons.

Jamie Winter, Fresh Food Director at Morrisons says: “It’s unfair to take a ‘catch all’ approach without accepting that there will almost always be important exceptions. The simple fact is that our customers buy their whole rotisserie chicken as part of their weekly shop, not as a takeaway. Our customers tell us that they simply cannot pay more in these difficult times.  That’s why we’re helping them to fight this unfair tax on the Great British Roast.”

Peter Bradnock of the British Poultry Council says: “This 20% tax hike in the price of Red Tractor chicken from British farms bought freshly-cooked in the supermarkets will hit shoppers and result in lost production for farmers. It is a sad irony that this 20% VAT tax will not apply to imports of already-cooked chicken meat coming from countries likeThailand, and our Government is now making it even harder for British chicken farmers to compete on our own markets.”

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