Pie and caravan jobs saved by U-turns

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WIGAN has received a double boost from the Government’s pie and caravan tax U-turns.

Hundreds of jobs were threatened at Springfield’s Pemberton Leisure Homes and the Poole’s and Waterfield’s bakeries after Chancellor George Osborne announced Budget plans to slap VAT charges on their products.

But now the 20 per cent rate on static caravans has been cut from 20 per cent to five and its introduction put back a year to April 2013.

Meanwhile the threatened applying of VAT to hot pies and pasties has also been shelved after the definition was changed to allow the current situation where pies and pasties baked and then left to return to ambient temperatures in bakeries and supermarkets remain exempt.

Managing director of Wigan based Galloways David Lowe said that the pie tax was always going to ridiculous to monitor for the Government and themselves.

He added: “I am really chuffed that they have seen sense and done a u-turn on the proposal.

“In the current climate we have been doing our utmost to absorb increasing raw material prices keeping our prices pretty stable over the last two years and I am sure our customers will along with us welcome the fact that our prices will not have to increase by 20 per cent in October.”

The pasty and caravan measures would have raised about £75m in extra revenue a year but the changes announced yesterday are the latest in a series of rethinks on measures announced in the Budget.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy joined forces with Pemberton Leisure Homes to campaign against the new tax on static caravans which bosses said directly threatened a quarter of their workforce

She said she was glad the Government had “seen reason,” adding: “It would have cost scores of jobs in Wigan, and stopped families enjoying hard-earned holidays. The question remains, why was such a shambolic and self-defeating policy ever announced in the first place?”

Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who fought a high profile campaign against the pie tax on behalf of local firm Waterfield’s, said: “I’m glad we won’t be seeing an army of people with thermometres raiding pie shops in this the pie capital of England.

“The whole thing was ridiculous from start to finish.”