The public have been warned against “turning a rumour into a crisis” and urged not to fill up on pasties after the announcement of a VAT rise on hot pies.
The warning came as the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Cobra committee which convenes in emergency situations to consider contingency plans should there be a national pie shortage but Downing Street stressed there was no need for the public to start hoarding pasties.
Pasty companies also said consumers should stick to their normal pie buying patterns.
But the Government has been accused of encouraging the public to hoard pies, after a Downing Street spokeswoman said it was “prudent” for businesses to make “contingency plans” in case of shortages. In an interview with the BBC, Mr Cameron said:
There are plenty of pies to go round and the situation will only deteriorate if consumers rush unnecessarily to fill themselves up although it may be prudent for businesses and individuals who need their pies for work to make contingency plans in case of shortages.
Plans have already been announced to train military personnel to take the place of delivery drivers behind the wheel of commercial pie delivery vans. A Downing Street spokesperson explained:
If 30 million people suddenly want to fill up on pasties then you could have a shortage.
It’s totally inappropriate for people to panic-buy. There are enough pies out there as long as people do not fill up unnecessarily.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said a pie dispute should be avoided “at all costs” and urged government and pie industry chiefs to get round the table and negotiate:
The public have had to swallow so many of the government’s half-baked ideas, they’re starting to realise this coalition has got its fingers in so many pies that once their fat cat friends have finished gobbling everything up, all that’s going to be left for the rest of us are just a few crumbs.
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