Published: April 7, 2010
Burnham cider makers welcome government's cider tax U-turn

Cider makers across the Burnham-On-Sea area have welcome the government's decision to drop plans for a 10% tax rise on cider following strong opposition across the West Country.

Ministers were forced to rescind the increase, announced in the Budget, as part of efforts to get laws passed after the general election was called.

With Parliament due to be dissolved on 12th April, outstanding legislation must be passed by Thursday or be dropped.

The Tories and Lib Dems have welcomed the move, but Labour say it will be re-introduced if it wins power again.

John Harris of West Croft Cider in Brent Knoll, pictured above, told "This is very good news. Common sense has prevailed."

The tax rise will now expire on 30 June, after which cider would be subject to the standard 2% increase announced in the Budget for beers and spirits.

Burnham's MP, David Heathcoat-Amory, also welcomed the decision on Wednesday. He told "I objected to this Somerset Tax when I spoke in the Budget Debate in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party voted against this then and I am glad the Government has now dropped it. This is a victory for the first day of the election."

Chancellor Alistair Darling said in his budget that it was justified because cider had historically been treated more favourably than other alcohol categories but the opposition parties said the move was punitive, at a time when British firms were struggling to emerge from the recession.

The cider tax rise was included in the government's Finance Bill, which is among the outstanding bills being considered by Parliament.


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