Morrisons cooks up a cool chicken strategy to save customers VAT

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Morrisons has come up with a cunning plan to circumvent the recent imposition of VAT on rotisserie chicken.

The retailer, which is still hoping to convince the government to reverse its decision, is trialling the sale of chickens that are cooked and bagged as normal - and then merchandised on a table in the aisle next to the hot food counter.

A whole chicken on the cooldown table costs £4.41, compared with £5.51 for the birds that are kept warm. The retailer has been running the trial since the government moved to close the VAT loophole on hot chicken in October.

The popularity of the cooldown chicken has been growing each week as shoppers become aware of it, and last week sales overtook those of hot counter chicken for the first time, claimed a spokesman.

Shoppers have also begun commenting on the initiative via social media. One poster called THFC ‘Pat’ commented on Twitter this week: “Bought a VAT free chicken in #Morrisons on Saturday. Bloody lovely and it was roasting hot and juicy! #upyoursosborne”.

Morrisons and the British Poultry Council submitted a petition to the government last month signed by 40,000 people as part of its ongoing ‘Don’t tax our roast campaign’. It now plans to lobby MPs in the hope of getting the subject debated in parliament.

The tax was announ-ced in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget in March along with the now infamous ‘pasty tax’, which was later withdrawn following a public outcry.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Just to correct the last para - contrary to press reports, the pasty tax was not 'withdrawn' it was amended. If pasties etc are allowed to cool down naturally VAT is still not charged (just like the 'cooldown' chickens - great idea). However, if they are kept hot, it will be. West Cornwall Pasty Co, one of the targets of the new legislatiion, is now charging VAT on pasties because customers complained when they were allowed to cool.
    Mike Truman
    Editor, Taxation magazine

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