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Budget upholds cider tax exemption

The British government will uphold a tax exemption for small cider producers worth up to £2,700 a year, despite pressure from the EU to remove it.

Cider apple blossom
The charge would have threatened the vast majority of the UK’s cider makers, campaigners said (Photo: Wiki)

The European Commission recently recommended the removal of the tax cut for cider makers producing up to 70hl,or 12,000 pints, per year. It is thought the proposal was made in order to put taxes on UK cider producers in line with the charges levied on small winemakers.

However, in his summer budget announced today, the Chancellor George Osborne agreed to keep the current duty arrangement.

Had the exemption been revoked, it’s thought that the majority of these small cider producers, who make up around 80% of all cider makers in the UK, would have been put out of business.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), who lobbied the government to keep the tax break, estimate that cider makers who produce 70hl of cider a year would make less than £10,000-worth of sales. The pressure group said that an extra £2,700 charge on top of this would make the business unsustainable for many producers.

Tom Stainer, Camra’s head of communications, said that they are “pleased that the Government has committed to support small cider makers.”

He said, “This exemption has been in place since cider duty was introduced and is absolutely vital to supporting the production and availability of quality real cider.”

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