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Campaign to cut tax on cider

The South West Taxpayers' Alliance is calling on the Chancellor to abolish the Duty escalator on cider. Credit: ITV News West Country

A campaign to cut cider tax is being launched at Bristol Cider Festival today.

The South West Taxpayers' Alliance is calling on the Chancellor to abolish the Duty escalator, where the price rises two percent above inflation every year.

A similar duty on beer was scrapped earlier this year.

The campaign is being backed by a number of MPs in the West Country where the cider industry has been doing so well in recent years.

Late apple blossom is good news for cider makers

Spectacular blossoms are signs of a good apple harvest Credit: National Association of Cider Makers

Cider-makers in the Westcountry are celebrating the best apple tree blossom in more than a decade. Last year’s bad weather spelled disaster for growers and cider makers in the region after cold and wet weather devastated crops and crippled the harvest.

This year’s blossom has arrived around two weeks late – but is bigger and stronger than cider chiefs could have hoped for.

Neil McDonald runs Orchard Ground Force, an artisan cider producer based near Glastonbury. He said: “This is by far the best blossom I have seen in at least ten years. Last year was worrying – it started with a poor blossom and got worse from there. Around 30 per cent of crop was destroyed.

“In the last few days the trees in our orchards have blossomed beautifully. It means this year is looking exceedingly promising. We’re expecting a terrific crop in a couple of months."

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Cider company begins investment programme

The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is beginning £1 million worth of investment.
The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is beginning £1 million worth of investment. Credit: ITV West

A cider company in Somerset has begun a £1 million investment programme to support new orchards.

The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is inviting growers to apply for funding with the successful schemes starting in the new year. It hopes the new trees will eventually provide an extra ten thousand tonnes of apples for the site.

Cider Threat: Full report

by David Woodland

Cider makers say much of the industry will be destroyed if the Government goes ahead with plans to curb binge drinking. They claim the measures will lead to orchards being uprooted and farmhouse cider becoming a thing of the past. Our Somerset correspondent David Woodland has this report.

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Warning over cider prices

Cider makers are warning the future of their orchards are under threat from the Government's attempts to tackle binge drinking. The coalition announced plans for a minimum price for alcohol in last month's budget. Producers say the new rules may mean their ciders have to be sold for more.

pint of cider being poured
Half of the UK's 500 cider producers are based in the West Country Credit: ITV West

Minimum alcohol pricing: Cider

The cider industry is extremely disappointed with the Government's new legislative approach. There has been no consultation despite the great impact this legislation could have on our industry, which contributes significantly to the local, rural economies where our members are based.

The NACM recognises that we must find a solution to alcohol misuse, but Minimum Unit Pricing is not a silver bullet, therefore a commitment to implement it without debate is not how we expect Government to operate.

– Henry Chevallier, Chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM)

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