‘Cider Tax’ Backed By Farming Minister

Featured in this week’s budget, the newly named ‘cider tax’ has attracted a lot of publicity and debate within the British Farming Industry. This post from the Farmers Guardian features the latest debate which we thought you’d like to read……

THE cider industry is still benefiting from significantly lower rates of duty than its main competitor, Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has said in response criticism of the new ‘cider tax’.

 Mr Fitzpatrick was forced to defend the controversial decision to raise the duty on cider by 10 per cent above inflation when the issue was raised in the Commons during Defra Questions.

Alistair Darling’s announcement in Wednesday’s Budget, which has provoked a furious response from cider makers and drinkers, has also upset some MPs.

Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, representing the cider-rich constituency of Leominster, in Herefordshire, accused the Minister of hypocrisy on Thursday when he praised British farming while representing a Government happy to tax cider makers so heavily.

“How has the Minister got the nerve to tell the House all those nice things about agriculture when yesterday, on the same spot, the Chancellor increased duty on cider by 10 per cent over inflation?” Mr Wiggin said.

 “There are 600 businesses in Herefordshire alone producing this exclusively British drink. How will the Minister ever persuade anyone to take anything he says about British agriculture seriously again?”

Mr Fitzpatrick said he recognised Mr Wiggin’s concerns about the industry in his constituency.

But he said that, historically, cider producers have paid lower rates of duty than other producers. The new rate will still be about half that paid on beer, he said.

He said the smallest UK cider producers would remain exempt from the duty increase, which applies only to makers who produce more than 7,000 litres a year

 “We estimate that, as a result, nearly 400 UK cider makers will not be affected by any of the changes announced yesterday,” he said.

What do you think? Agratech are proud to support the British Farming Industry and hope that whatever happens, British farmers are supported in all their activities!