Smaller brewers feel bitter about cider makers’ tax bonuses

Small wine makers have expressed concern over the government’s proposed reform of alcohol tariffs and want to know why the tax on cider would be half the rate of beer.

The government, which announced a review of alcohol tariffs in March 2020, introduced a proposal in last year’s budget aimed at simplifying the “complex, burdensome and inconsistent” tax system.

Sage Sunak hailed the new system as “the most radical simplification of alcohol tariffs for more than 140 years” and said the new system was designed to reduce the rate of basic tariffs from 15 to six under the principle “the stronger the drink, the higher the rate”. ”

Ian Fozard, chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers and Harrogate Rooster’s Brewery, says that under the current system, beer tariffs are linked to energy where cider is taxed at a flat rate equivalent to 44 percent of beer of similar strength.

He said that despite statements of support for equality across the beverage sector and support for it from the health lobby, the alcohol sector’s hopes of reforming the problem have been dashed.

“Conversely, the government is still proposing to tax beer and cider on significantly different grounds, although these two beverages are clearly equivalent products in terms of energy and consumer appeal.”

Fozard, 68, said the cedar industry would also benefit from the so-called Farm Gate rebate, which would exempt the first 70 hectares – 12,318 pints – from excise duty and prevent producers from registering with HM Revenue and Customs.

He said it was ridiculous that the Treasury would raise আরো 350 million more in taxes if the government wanted to bring equality between beer and cider.

The consultation document states that equalizing beer and cedar tariffs will make the tariff system “easier and more consistent”, with the government “likely to have a significant impact on the cedar industry, reducing the amount of apple and pear cider.” 28 percent between 2009 and 2019 ”.

However, Fozard said this may be due to a shift to fruit cider, which is not primarily made from apples or pears, adding that five of the top six cider brands are either made outside the UK or owned by Heineken, the world’s second largest. The biggest drinking.

“Not to mention that between 2000 and 2019, overall UK cider consumption increased by 13 per cent, while beer volume decreased by 19 per cent over the same period. So there is no basis for arguing this contradictory decision.”

Mike Wood, 45, Conservative MP for Doodle South and chairman of the all-party parliamentary beer group, said: “I enjoy a pint of cedar, but no one can explain why it pays half as much as the equivalent energy beer. . “

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