I understand and share concerns about the challenges that are currently facing the cider industry and I appreciate the contribution that the industry makes to the UK economy in terms of supporting thousands of jobs and producing millions of pounds in sales.
I know that the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have highlighted a request made by the European Commission in February 2015 for the UK government to amend the current duty exemption on cider and perry made by small domestic producers. I appreciate that this exemption benefits around 475 producers in the UK and that removing it without an adequate replacement could have a serious impact on small-scale cider production in the UK.
As you may be aware, the government stated in the 2015 summer Budget that they intend to retain the current duty exemption until and unless a replacement scheme is established.
The Shadow Pubs Minister, Toby Perkins MP, has also asked a number of parliamentary questions on this issue. In response, the government have confirmed that they are discussing the EU Commission’s request with EU Member States and the Commission and that they are looking at alternatives that could apply to help support the cider industry.
As a frontbench spokesperson I am unable to sign Early Day Motions, however, I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and hope that the government ensure support is provided for domestic cider production.