Changes to VAT rules mean the cost of a supermarket rotisserie chicken will increase by 20% from today.

From 1 October, the Treasury is charging VAT on all food kept and sold hot, making rotisserie chicken subject to the full 20% VAT rate.

This could result in up to 4m fewer rotisserie chickens sold, research has suggested.

Supermarket Morrisons ran a trial in one store selling chickens at the higher rate, and reported a 9% drop in sales. If this was replicated across the country, the British Poultry Council (BPC), believe it could result in 73,000 fewer birds sold every week – a £19.9m cost to the industry per year.

“Don’t Tax Our Roast”, a campaign urging the government to rethink its plans to add VAT to cooked roast chicken, has attracted over 40,000 signatures since its launch three weeks ago.

“Whole chickens aren’t going to be taken out of the bag and eaten on the way home. They are not take-away food and should not be treated as such, which is exactly what the Treasury is doing with this new and unfair tax.”
Jamie Winter, Morrisons

The campaign wants a review into the impact that this increase in VAT will have. Research carried out by parenting charity Netmums found that 86% of mums asked would buy rotisserie chicken less, or not at all as a result of the increase.

Jamie Winter, fresh food director at Morrisons said: “Whole chickens aren’t going to be taken out of the bag and eaten on the way home. They are not take-away food and should not be treated as such, which is exactly what the Treasury is doing with this new and unfair tax.”

The original change to VAT, announced in March, covered all hot food sold, but the government watered down the proposals earlier this year, instead applying the increase only to food sold and kept hot.

Although this meant that pasties and pies escaped the increase, rotisserie chickens need to be kept hot for health reasons.

People can sign the “Don’t Tax Our Roast” petition online or text CHICKEN and their full name to 88802 (texts charge at standard network rates).

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