Newly-elected chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), David Sheppy, has called for a freeze in excise duty until at least 2025.
David Sheppy (right) with Ian Liddell Grainger MP at the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group reception
He was making his inaugural speech at the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG) reception in Westminster this week, addressing more than 120 cider makers, MPs, and those connected to the cider industry.
Sir Bill Wiggin MP, president of the APPCG, opened the event, reminding those present of the importance of cider making across many rural communities.
“The last few years have been tough for cider makers,” said David. “The market has been struggling, and at times it has really felt as though the government has lost focus on the valuable contribution that the traditions of cider making bring to our rural economies.
“A 10.1% increase in excise duty; duty reforms that penalise our most traditional ciders; complicated systems that have been rushed through; increasing levels of red tape for both cider makers and farmers. The list is endless, and personally I have been very frustrated and concerned that the finest, traditional ciders and family businesses are being negatively impacted.”
He called on MPs to back the cider industry, which supports more than 11,000 jobs, 16,000 acres of orchards, and which is worth £2.95bn. The British cider industry is by far the largest globally, playing an important role across rural economies in Herefordshire, across the South West and beyond. Cider makers attract more than 1 million tourists each year, contributing to their rural economies and supporting communities.
Highlighting industry concerns that yet another excise duty-related consultation was due, David asked for support as the government begins the lengthy process of reviewing the definition of cider.
“In the past, those responsible for excise duty made a point of coming to see us to learn more about the cider category,” he said. “We appreciate that the last few years have made that more difficult, but all of us here tonight would like to see us return to that level of interest in cider making.”