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The Conservatives spell out their opposition to the 10% duty hike on traditional British cider

Picture 25 In opening his response to the Budget yesterday, David Cameron suggested that he supported the Government's proposed hike in cider duty:

"Remember our tax plan for super-strength cider? When we announced it, the Chancellor's spokesman said that that was illegal. It is now official Government policy."

But today - amid a burgeoning Facebook campaign against the rise in cider duty at 10% above inflation, accompanied by a bid to get I am a Cider Drinker by the Wurzels back into the charts - the party has made it clear that it does not support the blanket measure on all ciders.

On a trip to West Country, where much English cider originates, David Cameron said he supported only the duty increase for high alcohol ciders rather than the traditional apple drink:

"The Government has made a mistake. They don't understand the West Country, they don't understand this part of our country and they've got it wrong. Of course we need a higher tax on the dangerous high strength, things like White Lightning, which have as much relation to an apple as I do with Gandhi. But proper cider that people like to drink down the pub, we shouldn't be having a great tax hike on that."

George Osborne echoed this in the House of Commons:

"He [The Chancellor] said yesterday he was taxing the drinks that cause the binge drinking problems. Announced by us at our Conference last year, denounced by them – and it seemed, adopted by them Except, it turns out, they haven’t actually copied our idea. They’ve used it as a cloak for a huge duty rise on all cider drinkers – instead of just the super strength white ciders that are linked to problem drinking – and that is something that will hit the industry hard and it is something we oppose."

Jonathan Isaby


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