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Cider industry: Damian Hinds reaffirms support as figures show record numbers of producers

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Damian Hinds visits Thatchers Cider's farm in Sandford, Somerset

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Damian Hinds today (22 Sept 2015) visited Thatchers Cider’s farm in Sandford, Somerset to highlight the government’s commitment to supporting the cider industry, as latest government figures reveal record numbers of cider producers.

Figures released by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) show that in the last five years, the number of medium to large scale cider producers has increased by around 50 per cent, rising steadily from 97 in 2010 to 150 last year, indicating positive signs of investment.

Thatchers Cider is one of the oldest cider producers in the UK, with over 100 years’ experience in cider making. The company has seen significant growth in recent years, and this year expanded into the hospitality business, opening their first pub in the village of Sandford where they are based.

News of the success of the sector comes after the government announced support for the industry earlier this year. The March Budget saw the tax on lower strength cider cut by one penny per litre and in the Summer Budget the Chancellor announced that the government would keep the existing duty exemption for small scale cider makers in place until and unless a replacement scheme is established.

Building on this, Mr Hinds today confirmed that the Treasury will continue to engage with regional cider groups over the coming months to discuss how the government can best support them.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Damian Hinds said:

Cider makers play a crucial role in our rural economy, particularly in places like the South West. That’s why I’m pleased that our action to support cider makers is seeing results.

As we work with cider makers across the country over the coming months, we will seek to find ways to support them in the future and help maintain the wonderful choice and diversity we have in cider.

Managing Director of Thatchers Cider and Chair of the National Association of Cider Makers, Martin Thatcher, said:

Cider is a British favourite but we are an industry in need of support. This year’s 2% duty cut from Government was a welcome first step and as a result our industry has continued to make long-term investments which will ultimately lead to further opportunities for growth.

We look forward to working with HM Treasury to ensure that, with their support, cider makers across the UK can continue to take advantage of opportunities to grow their businesses. Despite the difficult market conditions that we are all currently experiencing, we are continuing to invest in our local economies through the planting of new orchards, the construction of new facilities and the creation of jobs.

Figures released by HMRC through an FOI showed that in 2010, there were 97 medium to large cider producers and this has steadily grown, with 150 operating last year.

The government estimates that there are also around 500 smaller scale cider producers operating in the UK, who do not need to register with HMRC as they produce under 70hl per year.

In the March Budget 2015, the government announced a 2% cut to the duty on lower strength cider.

In the Summer Budget 2015, the government committed to keeping in place the current duty exemption for small cider producers until and unless a replacement scheme can be established. The European Commission had asked the UK government to remove the exemption, arguing there is no allowance for it under EU law.