The humble Cornish pasty has become a symbol of what was disliked about the Budget last week. Why should VAT be charged on this warm popular staple food item, when most food is zero-rated? I confess that I have not eaten a pasty since I was a child. I pass lots of pasty sellers as I commute between major rail stations daily, but I avoid them because I see the warm pasties sitting under a hot light for hours, largely in the open air, and wonder about the hygiene. I also started to wonder about their nutritional value. In your interest, I went out to investigate in my local high street this morning.
This is what I found at a well known store. A medium Cornish pasty, 671 calories, 63 carbs, 37g fat, 3.2g salt. Cost £3.40. At nearby Macdonalds, they gave me their printed list of nutrition breakdown facts. For roughly the same price you could get 2 hamburgers, with fewer calories, fat and salt. There is considerable criticism of hamburgers for being unhealthy, so why this sudden rush to defend the price of pasties? Perhaps if the government had presented the price rise as similar to the extra tax on cigarettes, to deter unhealthy practices, it might have been more acceptable.