Thrapston chip shop owner joins battle for VAT cut

Adam Smith, of Pisces Fish and Chip Shop in Thrapston, and father Mick Smith
Adam Smith, of Pisces Fish and Chip Shop in Thrapston, and father Mick Smith

A Thrapston fryer has added his voice to calls for the Government to remove VAT from fish and chips.

Adam Smith, who runs Pisces Fish and Chips in High Street, said the 20 per cent tax is an anomaly which is causing businesses like his to struggle.

There have already been two failed attempts in British courts to seek a zero per cent VAT on the dish, and now accountancy firm KPMG, which is helping fraught shop owners, is set to take the case to the European courts.

The move comes almost two years after chancellor George Osborne was forced to ditch plans for 20 per cent VAT on freshly baked pies and sausage rolls.

Mr Smith said: “VAT makes up 99p of every £4.95 fish and chips meal sold at Pisces.

“Every quarter it’s a struggle,” he added. “The Government claim that we are collecting it and adding it on to our prices. But in reality, we are absorbing it because our customers will only pay so much for their fish and chips.”

The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has argued it should be exempt to be in line with supermarkets who do not pay VAT on some of the hot food they sell.

The case is being supported by hundreds of fish shop owners all over the country.

NFFF secretary Andrew Crook also said the rising cost of haddock and a cut in the cod shipping quotas.

Currently VAT is charged at the standard rate as fish and chips are sold for consumption while still hot.

A spokesman from KPMG said: “We have assisted numbers of NFFF members in assisting protective claims for overpaying VAT pending ongoing litigation.

A spokesman from HM Revenue and Customs said he could not comment while legal action was ongoing.