Supermarket in hot food tax battle
Poultry suppliers are seeking to re-open the "pastygate" tax row by backing a supermarket's campaign to halt a rise in the tax payable on hot roast chickens.
Chancellor George Osborne axed a Budget proposal to impose VAT on all hot food from next month, bowing to pressure to exclude items such as pasties which were left to cool on display.
But he retained the measure for food which is kept hot in order to close a 20-year loophole which treated supermarkets differently to takeaways.
Morrisons supermarket, which has organised the petition campaign with the support of the British Poultry Council (BPC), said shoppers were being treated unfairly.
It said research showed more than 80% of its customers who bought rotisserie chickens did so to use them as part of a home roast dinner rather than a traditional take-away.
Fresh food director Jamie Winter said: "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."
The BPC's Peter Bradnock said: "It is a sad irony that this 20% VAT tax will not apply to imports of already-cooked chicken meat coming from countries like Thailand, and our Government is now making it even harder for British chicken farmers to compete on our own markets."