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Wed 23rd Jan 2013 - Breaking News - Subway steps up VAT campaign
Subway takes VAT campaign to Downing Street with 150,000 signature petition: Subway has stepped up its campaign to reverse the government’s position in imposing VAT on toasted sandwiches by delivering a 150,000-name petition to Downing Street. Representatives from Subway, which is also a supporter of the Jacques Borel campaign to reduce VAT to 5% in the hospitality industry, delivered a petition calling for equal tax treatment for its toasted sandwiches. Subway’s toasted subs, like all toasted sandwiches, are currently subject to a 20% VAT, in contrast to freshly-baked takeaway pies and pasties that are not kept hot after baking, which avoided the imposition of 20% VAT after the government undertook a U-turn on the move last May. Trevor Haynes, Subway UK and Ireland area development manager, said: “It would appear that this application of VAT is being specifically targeted at Subway stores, which is concerning when franchisees work hard to maintain their business and the brand is the only quick-service restaurant to support all relevant key government health pledges.” Subway said it welcomed the government’s move to “introduce greater clarity and a level playing field” for all hot foods, after the 2012 Budget was announced by George Osborne three months ago. However, the firm argued that changes to the rules meant that as of 1 October 2012 a “cooling down” test was incorporated to address practical concerns with hot bakery products. The company added: “Government legislation still fails to create a legal framework which applies only an objective test, which the Subway brand understands is required by European Law.” Subway stated that it believed that this was “a potential breach of the EU principles of equality of treatment and fiscal neutrality among retailers selling similar products that fulfil the same purpose”. Among a group of five from Subway at Downing Street was David Cameron, a Subway franchisee, who said: “My staff and I work very hard to offer our customers freshly made, low-calorie subs, which include one of your five-a-day vegetable portions from our salad bar, yet I am penalised because some of the items are toasted. It seems unfair that hot pasties can enjoy a tax break, while low-calorie sandwiches supplied by small businesses like mine are penalised.” The petition contained 152,015 signatures and were collected in store and online between April 2012 and December 2012. The five franchises handing in the petition were David Cameron (Yorkshire), Harvey Brown (south west), Jitin Dixit (London), Rachana Pancholi (Derby) and Maureen Hibbens (Scotland).

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