Page last updated at 09:06 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 10:06 UK

Fan's pie and Bovril price fury

By Denise Glass
Tayside reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Scotch pie
Pies and Bovril are familiar fixtures at football grounds across Scotland

Football clubs across Scotland have been accused of fleecing fans - by failing to make sure the VAT has been cut on the pies, Bovril and hotdogs sold at their grounds.

On 1 December last year, VAT was reduced from 17.5% to 15% to help people through the economic downturn and encourage them to spend more.

Andy Walker, a 58-year-old Celtic supporter from Dundee, got in touch with BBC Scotland to complain that the price of hot food at every ground he has visited had not changed.

He wants clubs and caterers to pass on the reductions.

Mr Walker said: "From the start of the season right to the present day prices have remained the same.

"On a £3 item, for example a hotdog, I should've been saving six pence. Now if you multiply that by say 2,000 people buying hot food, ie Bovril, pies, hotdogs, cheeseburgers etc, thousands of pounds extra are being charged and the customer is not getting any benefit.

Food costs at the time of the VAT change were increasing by an average of 11.5%
Lindley Group caterers

"I feel that for the football supporter who pays for season tickets and everything the VAT reduction should've been made.

"Everything was supposed to have been cheaper and it's not happened - so why is the football supporter being fleeced?"

Over the last couple of years, Mr Walker has been taking photos of football food prices to show how high the charges are.

"You're a captive audience, as soon as you go in there you are paying the premium price," he said.

Really rankles

"I could go into a shop and buy 100 teabags for a pound, so that's a penny a teabag, and yet it's £1.70 for a cup of tea, so it makes you wonder.

"Football to me is an industry the same as any other industry and if there's a reduction in prices it should be passed on.

"I know it's only pennies, but multiply that by thousands and that's what really rankles with me."

A spokesman for Aberdeen FC said they were always looking at prices but the VAT reduction was very small.

He added that the decrease had been introduced mid-season, which made it difficult to change prices.

Andy Walker
Andy Walker believes football fans are losing out on thousands of pounds

VAT is also due to rise again at the end of the year, meaning the tax changes are difficult to administer, he explained.

Rangers confirmed that prices at their food outlets had not been reduced, but they have taken 50p off ticket prices because of the VAT cut.

Celtic and Dundee United said it was a matter for their caterers, the Lindley Group, who also provide food services at several other football grounds.

A statement from the firm said: "The escalation in food prices resulting from higher commodity prices has been well documented and publicised.

"Food costs at the time of the VAT change were increasing by an average of 11.5% and in order to manage some of these price increases, we took the decision to offset the 2.5% VAT reduction against these higher costs, which enabled us to provide stable pricing for the season."

Here is a selection of your comments:

Football catering has been a disgrace for years! I have never once bought a fizzy drink that is fizzy inside a football ground in Scotland and yet they still charge you £2. Needless to say I don't go for a half-time pie and Bovril anymore.

Bob, Motherwell

Personally I watch non-league football and have a great passion for it because it is supporter friendly. Prices of food in non-league can't be lowered as clubs need to survive. I went to Wembley on Sunday to see Glossop in the FA Vase Final. Food and drink prices at Wembley are a disgrace and teams in the football league need to pass on savings. It's a total joke, ticket prices are a joke as well and European teams charge nothing in comparison.

Thomas Jellis, Chapel-en-le-Frith

Andy Walker needs to get a grip on himself. Think of the poor tea boy trying to all that maths in his head with a £1.96 pie, 47p donut and £1.42 Bovril. The Killie Pie man sends all his extra taking to the youth team - what are the other pie sellers doing?

Alan, Kilmarnock, Scotland

Myself and my two kids are season ticket holders at Dundee United, however there is no way I can afford to buy us all a pie and a bovril as the prices are just far too high! It costs a small fortune to buy ANYTHING to eat or drink. I make sure I'm all stocked up before we go to the game. If we run out then the kids wait untill we get home. I appreciate all businesses have to make a profit, however this is daylight robbery!!!!

S Smith, Dundee, Scotland

I believe the caterers at Kilmarnock FC, Brownings Bakers, have been passing on the VAT saving in the form of donations to youth development at the club. This is perfectly acceptable to me - I can only imagine the queues when the tea bar girls and boys (who don't generally have tills to do the adding up at most grounds) have to work out the right total cost and change to give when prices are £1.47 for a coffee, £1.94 for a pies etc. Completely unworkable.

Tom, Glasgow

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