28/03/2012 08:25 BST | Updated 28/03/2012 13:16 BST

Pasty Tax: David Cameron Says He Loves Pasties, But Defends VAT Rise On Hot Food

David Cameron has defended the decision to raise VAT on hot food and insisted he is an avid pasty eater himself.

George Osborne has faced opposition from MPs and some businesses over the decision last week's Budget to add 20% VAT on hot pasties and pies that are served "above ambient temperature".

The boss of Greggs has accused the chancellor of having "lost touch" after Osborne admitted he could not remember the last time he bought a pasty from the baker.

Ken McMeikan said ministers did not appreciate the impact changes to VAT rules would have on ordinary people.

However David Cameron said the VAT rise was designed to ensure small bakers were not unfairly undercut by some of the larger chain stores and supermarkets.

"It was [the then chancellor] Nigel Lawson who over 20 years ago put VAT on hot takeaway food," he said. "A number of businesses are trying to find ways around that rule."

He added: "It's basically about trying to have a sensible set of VAT arrangements."

"I don't think it's fair, for instance, that the small businessman running the fried chicken takeaway is having to charge his customers VAT, but the big supermarket is not having to pay VAT for their fresh hot chickens."

Cameron revealed: "I am a pasty eater myself, I go to Cornwall on holiday, I love a hot pasty.

"I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time and the choice was whether to have one of their small ones or large ones, and I have a feeling I opted for the large one and very good it was too."

However following prime minister's statement much of the political press set off hot on the trail of the specific pasty shop Cameron claimed to have visited.

Suspicions were aroused that there had not been a West Cornwall Pasty Company at Leeds station for some time.

Network Rail confirmed that there had not been a branch of the shop at Leeds station since 2007 - leading to amazement at how good Cameron's memory must be.

The company reacted to the endorsement with glee, exclaiming on Twitter: "So David Cameron is a fan of our Large Traditional, who'd have thought he had such good taste."

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to pick up some political points, Labour's shadow chief secretary to the Treasury let it be known that she and the shadow chancellor and Labour leader were big fans of baked goods.

The three senior Labour politicians were filmed visiting a branch of Greggs on Wednesday, as Ed Miliband sought to capitalise on the furor.

What with Tory donor dinners and rows over pasties, we noticed a strange correlation between political bun fights and food...