Local MEP Daniel Dalton has urged the EU Commission to rethink its decision to end a 40 year old tax exemption given to small cider producers.
Producers who make less 33 pints a day enjoy a ‘small’ tax break worth about £2700 a year. Earlier this year the EU ordered the UK government to scrap the exemption but was forced to reconsider its decision after pressure from Daniel Dalton MEP and others. The consultation ends this week.
Daniel Dalton said, “We are not talking about big multi-nationals but hobbyists and farm gate producers who hold onto this exemption dearly. With artisan cider enjoying a renaissance we need to encourage this industry and protect an important aspect of rural life.”
The EU already allows a similar tax break for small vineyards and micro-breweries.
“These producers are not getting rich selling their product but they are often custodians of ancient orchards and use traditional methods; both could be lost. I believe we need to treat cider and perry in a similar way to wine and beer.”
The Commission will report in the new year.
Text of Mr Dalton’s letter
Mr Pierre Moscovici
Support small cider producers in the UK
As the consultation into EU Directive 92/83/EEC on excise duties on alcohol draws to a close, I hope that you will take into consideration the views of small cider producers in my own constituency.
I urge you to consider extending the current exception within the Directive for small wine and beer producers to include also small cider and perry producers.
Cider making is important to the rural tradition and culture within the UK as well parts of France, Poland and the Netherlands and in recent years its artisan products have enjoyed something of a renaissance.
Real cider making is a small and vibrant market but without a duty exception it may fold, particularly because the Commission is taking action against the UK for the duty exemption granted to small cider producers in the UK (those producing less than 70 Hectolitres). Many of these producers are custodians of ancient orchards and use tradition methods that may also be lost. None of these producers are getting rich selling their product.
I fully support the current duty exemption for producers making less than 70 hectolitres a year in the UK as the exemption only applies to very small businesses, such as hobbyists and farm gate producers. In addition, the amount of cider in question has no capacity to affect EU trade to any meaningful degree.