On the steps of HM Treasury, the TPA’s South West grassroots coordinator Tim Newark and Campaign Director, Robert Oxley, handed in a petition to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Petition calls on George Osborne to cut the tax on cider. The petition is part of the TPA’s general campaign to give drinkers a break in the UK and cut the duty on alcohol. Most of the 2,000 signatures on the petition come from the South West, home to a great many cider producers.
‘We gathered these signatures at county fairs and cider festivals across the country over the last few months,’ says Tim Newark. ‘From students to cider producers to local MPs, we’ve had a very positive reaction to our campaign. Last year, the Chancellor acted positively on our MashBeerTax campaign by cutting the beer duty escalator. We hope he will do the same for the cider duty escalator this year.’
Several West Country MPs rallied to our cause.
‘Cider is a great British institution,’ said Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group. ‘Many of our leading cider-makers are family run firms and for government to continually put up tax on cider stifles their investment in the business.’
‘I was very concerned by the discriminatory approach to cider duty in the last budget,’ said Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter. ‘The West Country apple growing and cider industry has been a big success in recent years. I would be very worried if that was reversed by treating ale more favourably than cider.’
‘After successfully campaigning to scrap the beer duty escalator,’ said Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot. ‘I’m now supporting a cut in cider tax. Alcohol should always be sold at responsible prices, but when tax makes up a quarter of the price of cider it’s time to call for a change to help our nearby breweries and micro-breweries stay in business as local employers.’