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This should surely have gone Important news of the day thread, but perhaps Pringles deserve their own thread.


Apart from being totally wonderfully nutritional and some of the healthiest snacks out there, they are rather more-ish don't you think?



But are they potato crisps?




Three judges at the Court of Appeal were asked to decide whether Pringles are similar to potato crisps and made from the potato - and therefore liable for Value Added Tax.


A VAT Tribunal decided they were made from potato but a High Court judge said they were not - and appeal judges have now reinstated the tribunal's decision, leaving makers Procter and Gamble liable for £100 million of past VAT and £20 million a year in the future.


But a spokesman for Procter and Gamble said the company had an agreement with HMRC while the appeal was pending and continued to pay VAT on the product and so there were no back taxes to pay.


Food products are usually zero-rated for VAT, but one of the exceptions is the humble potato crisp.


The VAT Act 1994 singles out the snack for tax purposes with the words: "Any of the following when packaged for human consumption without further preparation, namely, potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch, and savoury products obtained by the swelling of cereals or cereal products; and salted or roasted nuts other than nuts in shell."


During the hearing of the case last month, Roderick Cordara QC argued that the product should have a sufficient content of potato to give it a quality of what he called "potatoness". He said Regular Pringles, which contain 42% potato, 33% fat and flour cannot be said to be "made from potato".


But the appeal judges disagreed.


Lord Justice Jacob said the VAT Tribunal was right to find Pringles are sufficiently similar to potato crisps to bring them into the tax net. He said he could not agree with Mr Justice Warren in the High Court who found that the potato content of Pringles should be disregarded when considering the question of similarity to crisps.


The spokesman for Procter and Gamble said: "We are disappointed with the court's conclusion that VAT should be applied to Pringles. We have always asserted that Pringles in the UK market should be taxed as all other savoury snacks with which it competes. We remain committed to providing consumers with high quality, tasty snacks."

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