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CAMRA meets with the European Commissioner Office to discuss crippling tax on cider producers

Today CAMRA is meeting with the European Commissioners Office  to discuss the impact of the proposal to remove duty exemption for small cider producers across the UK.

CAMRA representatives including Vice Chairman Bob Stukins and APPLE Chair Andrea Briers are travelling to Strasbourg to discuss the issue with the Commissioners Office along with several other MEPs, including Julie Girling (Con), Ashley Fox (Con), Daniel Dalton (Con), Lord Dartmouth (UKIP) and Molly Scott Cato (Green). The meeting was arranged with the support of Anneliese Dodds (Lab) and Clare Moody (Lab), who will also be present.

Guy Smith, a small scale producer from the Somerset Cider Company will attend the meeting to discuss how the proposed tax will affect his business. He produces his cider in Taunton, Somerset on an orchard that dates back to the 18th century, and is in the process of being restored. There is currently one bottled fermented cider being produced, and the removal of the exemption would most likely result in the closure of the business.

Guy Smith, of the Somerset Cider Company, said: "Now that our vineyard is getting established we're looking more closely at cider and are in the process of restoring our historic orchard. The legal change would make this restoration not worth continuing and without the tax break we won't be able to grow our business. The personal and environmental impact will be huge, so I look forward to the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner in person to explain how this issue has a huge impact on real people's livelihoods, especially across the South West."

The duty exemption applies to producers who make less than 70 Hectolitres (HL) a year, which is 33 pints per day. These producers typically earn around £10,000 from cider each year and a tax of £2,700 would have a serious impact on production, especially as many of these producers are hobbyists or produce cider as a side business. 80% of Britain's 500+ cider makers are small scale producers, so the removal of the excise duty exemption would have a devastating effect on consumer choice and severely damage one of the nation's most historic industries.

The meeting follows hot on the heels of CAMRA presenting a 26,000 signature petition to 10 Downing Street calling on the UK Government to act on this threat to small cider producers. Following the petition, supporter David Warburton MP for Somerton & Frome put forward EDM 214 calling for the duty exemption to stay in place.

Please lobby your MP today to support this EDM here