MPs sent cider with a plea to scrap duty escalator
This Christmas every MP in the UK will be sent a customised bottle of cider with a label urging the government to support the trade by scrapping the duty escalator.
Westons supplied the cider and the National Association of Cider Makers produced 750 special bottles.
Instead of the standard label each is emblazoned with the message: “Please remove the duty escalator. Support the cider industry.”
George Osborne scrapped the escalator on beer in his Budget in March but not on cider, spirits or wine.
NACM chairman Paul Bartlett said: “The cider industry contributes hugely to the communities and economy in rural areas.
“We also work on a long-term investment cycle which means government support is absolutely crucial to the continuing success of our trade.
“The chancellor removed the duty escalator on beer in March, so we know that he already feels it is flawed. Now we would like to see him extend that to cider, too.
“This is one of a number of steps we are taking to achieve that by the time of the next budget in March.”
NACM said cider is worth £3 billion in the UK, with the industry using 250,000 tonnes of British apples every year.
The industry accounts for 17,300 acres of farmland and has pledged to up this by 2,000 acres by 2015.
Ian Lewis, head of marketing at Westons, said: “We needed a way to really hammer home our message about the importance of removing the duty escalator home – and I think sending out the customised cider bottles is a brilliant way to get the attention of the MPs.
“Hopefully getting to taste our delicious cider will also encourage them to say cheers to scrapping the duty escalator.”