British cider makers feel threatened by EU

ciderCider producers in Britain are fearful that EU bureaucracy could put many of them out of business.

The issue revolves around a tax exemption, in place since 1976, which covers cider makers producing less than 7,000 litres a year. It was introduced to help artisan production.

European officials have ruled that the UK must remove this exemption.

The judgment means that cider producers selling less than £10,000-worth of cider a year would be hit with a tax bill of up to £2,700.

If implemented, many producers could go out of business, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

More than 26,000 people called on the Government to oppose the move in a petition presented at Downing Street on Wednesday by CAMRA.

“The European Union’s demand to increase tax costs for small cider producers will force many to close. If these producers are driven out of business, it will dramatically reduce consumer choice and cause irreparable damage to one of the nation’s most historic industries,” said Andrea Briers, CAMRA National Cider Committee chairman.

Britain has about 500 cider makers, of which 80% are independent.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The government’s support for small cider makers has helped create a diverse and vibrant market. While we will study the commission’s arguments carefully, our support for this industry will continue.”

Cider became a popular drink in England after the fashion was introduced following the Norman invasion in 1066.

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