SIGN THE PETITION - CIDERDUTY.COM
The EU Commission has ordered the UK Government to end its tax exemption for small cider producers. The West Midlands has almost 200 small cider and perry orchards.
The problem is that the EU recognises the importance of small vineyards for wine and micro-breweries for beer but doesn't appreciate the role cider plays in areas like Herefordshire and Worcestshire," said Daniel.
An example is Gregg´s Pit, a small cider orchard in Much Marcle run by James Marsden. His turnover is £20,000 in a good year and his profit margin is around 30%.
Daniel added, "James isn´t getting rich selling cider. His product is high-end artisan and he believes there is a limit to how much of the duty he can pass onto the customer. Removal of this tax exemption will wipe out about half his meagre profits."
"If James leaves the industry then much could be lost. He is the custodian of a traditional orchard dating back to 1785 and Herfordshire has already lost two thirds of these orchards since 1950, each one a home to rare wildlife. He also produces cider using ancient methods including hand picking fruit and fermenting his product for up to nine months in wooden barrels. Methods that also could be lost.
Bob Price from the National Association of Cider Makers has welcomed Daniel´s intervention, "The solution to this issue lies in Brussels and I am delighted that Daniel is championing our cause with the Commission.´"
Artisan cider producers in the three counties already have EU geographical protection for their products and they cling onto the tax exemption dearly.
Mr Dalton is now campaigning for a rule change to give them the same European tax status as small traditional beer and wine producers.
He will be enlisting the help of colleagues from across the political divide. Members of the public are being urged to join Daniel´s campaign by signing his online petition at www.ciderduty.com.