Plea for cider aid after flooding

North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin has submitted an early day motion asking Parliament to debate the merits of scrapping the duty escalator on cider.

Wiggin said the cider industry has been hammered by excessive rain and flooding this winter, leading to widespread concern about “significant” tree loss at cider orchards in Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

He is calling for “the ending of the cider duty escalator in the 2014 Budget on March 19, in order to provide assistance to an industry that represents such a success story for British business, an industry whose fortunes are in desperate need of reviving after the recent flooding”.

He noted that “significant fruit tree loss has been reported and

more is expected due to the high winds and waterlogged land that the west and south west of the country are still experiencing”.

Wiggin, president of the All- Party Parliamentary Cider Group, added he believes “removal of the duty escalator would offer essential relief for distressed fruit growers and provide the confidence to replant to growers, whose suffering is not yet over, as the full extent of the flood damage is yet to be assessed”.

The National Association of Cider Makers said: “The cider industry plans for the long term and makes investment decisions measured in decades.

“To have the confidence to continue to invest in the rural communities we are part of means we must have stability and certainty on duty and policy more generally.”

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