Farmhouse Cider

Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1980.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Speller Mr Anthony Speller , North Devon 12:00 am, 24th July 1980

12. Mr. Speller asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals are being considered within the EEC to require farmhouse cider of a strength above 8·5 per cent. to be treated for revenue purposes in the same way as table wine.

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover and Deal

Proposals were put forward by the Commission last year which if accepted would result in cider of a strength above 6 per cent. being subjected to the same duty as table wine. The Commission has, however, made clear that it is prepared to agree to amending this limit to 8·5 per cent. This would represent little difference in practice from the present borderline of 8·7 per cent. between the cider duty and the made-wine duty.

Photo of Mr Anthony Speller Mr Anthony Speller , North Devon

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that in Devonshire the proposal would result in scrumpy costing 75p a pint? Furthermore, is he aware that it would result in the industry being put flat on its back? Does he agree that this, like many matters related to the Community, is intended in due course to bring the tax level on wine down to that of cider rather than vice versa? May we have an assurance that we shall not see the 75p pint in our lifetime?

Photo of Mr Peter Rees Mr Peter Rees , Dover and Deal

It is not for me to speculate on the effects of scrumpy on my hon. Friend's constituents. I reassure him and the House that the Government and the Commission are aware of the impact of increased duties on the cider industry, which is a small industry featuring particularly in the economies of my hon. Friend's county and Hereford.