24th February 2016
The South West’s small cider producers will not be forced to pay extra duty following a campaign led by South West MEP Ashley Fox.
A year ago the EU Commission ordered the UK government to end a forty-year tax exemption worth about £2700 a year to producers who make less than 33 pints a day.
The matter was taken up by Mr Fox and in the autumn the EU agreed to review its decision and opened a formal consultation. The review will not be complete until next year but Commission has confirmed the UK exemption can remain until the review is complete.
“This is a significant victory and one that signals reform is on the way. The EU recognises small vineyards and micro-breweries and I believe cider and perry should be treated in the same way,” said Ashley.
The news came at the inaugural meeting of the European Cider Interest Group launched by Ashley to campaign for cider across the EU.
Ashley added, “Small cider producers aren’t getting rich selling their product, the recipients of this tax exemption have a turnover of about £20,000 a year and we should be encouraging not hindering them.”
“They are custodians of ancient orchards, incredible wildlife and use traditional methods. None of which we want to lose.”