More home cooks could decide to bake their own hot cross buns next Easter as the shop-bought product faces either a VAT-induced price hike or a change of name to the considerably less appetizing “cold cross bun”.
To date, pasties have been the focus of the uproar that has followed the government’s announcement of plans to charge VAT on hot food served in shops. Now, though, supermarket chain Morrisons has entered the ring brandishing the hot cross bun and claiming that the tax proposal could spell the end of one of our best-loved seasonal treats as we know it.
Morrisons bakes from scratch in its stores, and sells, around 6m of the Easter buns at this time of year. They emerge from the oven at an average temperature of 30 deg C and would therefore be VAT-eligible under the new rules.
The only way to avoid having to add the tax would be to let the buns cool down completely before letting customers get at them. But then, of course, they would no longer be hot cross buns.
Said Guy Mason, head of corporate affairs at Morrisons: “We really hope the government sees sense and doesn’t force us to charge VAT on our hot cross buns.
“Our customers love the fact that they can pick them off our shelves shortly after they come out of the oven. Due to the changes that the government is proposing we might have to rename them ‘cold cross buns’ next Easter.”