EU presses our cider producers

If Brussels wanted to show further evidence of its arrogance and contempt for Britain, it couldn't have thought up a dafter scheme than to try and destroy our rights to help our small cider makers. We must get Britain out of the EU, and right now stop this unfolding disaster

Definitely a matter for Brussles, right? Wrong...
Luke Stanley
On 23 March 2015 11:19

Get Britain Out has just launched a petition calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to rule out implementing an EU demand for excise duties to be extended to the products of Britain’s small scale cider manufacturers.

This would mean many ciders would become more expensive, no longer benefiting from the current ‘Duty-Free’ status. We at Get Britain Out find this despicable and will fight this new duty tooth and nail.

Not for the first time the EU is launching an assault on small and medium-sized British businesses, this time in the cider industry, with the European Commission deciding alcohol duty must be extended to the cider brewed by the small scale producers.

At present, British cider manufacturers who produce less than 12,000 pints a year are exempt from paying duty on their products. This was introduced by the British Government in 1976 -- back when British governments cared about cider producers and endeavoured to help small and medium sized businesses thrive in the cider industry.

It is because of this exemption that a great variety of ciders now are available to be enjoyed by the British cider drinker.

If this duty is imposed, it will threaten the livelihoods of these small cider makers as well as fruit producers, who are currently exempt. This means roughly 380 producers in total. This demonstrates the EU’s contempt for small business and for Britain.

By trying to impose a one size fits all approach to our cider industry, regardless of the need to support Britain’s small scale cider producers, they endanger this thriving and varied market.

This new duty will also drastically reduce the variety of ciders available and curtail consumer choice. For the 60 percent of Britons who enjoy cider, many appreciate the specialist ciders with distinct flavours which we have available as a result of the support small cider manufacturers currently get from the government.

If these small producers are driven out of business, we will all have to go back to drinking tasteless big brands like Strongbow and Magners -- or be forced to choose something else to drink.

We have just two months to convince George Osborne to rule out implementing this deeply damaging cider duty, and Get Britain Out has launched this petition to do just that. If we are unable to persuade Osborne to oppose the new duty, many small cider producers and the farmers who grow their apples will be forced out of work.

We intend to gather as many signatures from members of the Great British Public who realise how damaging this new duty would be, before presenting the petition to George Osborne shortly before the two month deadline expires in April.

If Osborne does not rule out this new duty he will not only be consigning a strong British industry to history, but also be remembered as the most hypocritical Chancellor of the Exchequer in history.

In his 2015 Budget last week Osborne declared he would cut the duty on cider by 2 percent in order to "support our producers in the West Country and elsewhere”.

Yet if he agrees to the EU’s latest demand, the profits of these small scale producers will be devastated.

When the stakes are as high as this, it is important our petition receives as many signatures as possible. Of course the best way the government can support small and medium businesses is to Get Britain Out of the EU, but until then we need your support for our petition.


Luke Stanley is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out

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