Bill Wiggin MP has voiced his opposition and anger at the Government for increasing cider duty at 10% above the rate of inflation in yesterday’s Budget. With inflation at over 3%, the duty increase will be over 13%. Half of the country’s cider is produced in Herefordshire and Bill, who questioned the Government at Environment questions this morning and during the Budget debate in the afternoon and is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cider Group, said:

“I am appalled that local cider producers are being forced by Labour to foot the bill for the Government’s economic failures. Over the last couple of years, the Government already clobbered local cider makers with a 20% duty increase but the additional 13% now imposed on them in the Budget is cruel and unnecessary. Our local producers support the environment and responsible drinking and should not be punished in the dying days of this failed and discredited Labour Government.”

Bill, who has been corresponding with cider producers across the County, added:

“It’s not just cider makers that will suffer from the new duty rates. Apple growers, who manage around 10,000 acres of orchards, will be affected as will local rural pubs. Along with the closure of Post Offices and failure to support our farmers, this is another attack by the Labour Party on our rural communities.”