Bill Wiggin MP was able to speak directly with the Exchequer Secretary to defend cider makers, as European politicians pressured the UK Government.

Bill Wiggin MP was contacted by The National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) Chairman Martin Thatcher, while it became clear the EU Commission were putting pressure on the Government to cut the exemption for those small-scale producers of cider and perry who make less than 70 hectolitres per year.

Bill Wiggin MP said: “I have always defended cider makers as North Herefordshire is the capital of the cider industry – both for growers and producers.

I was able to take this matter right to the top and speak to Priti Patel MP, Exchequer Secretary at HM Treasury, today who sadly had been unable, due to illness, to attend a meeting with the NACM last week.

I was delighted by the very positive response I received from the Minister who has been a good friend to the cider industry, however she was of course not able to be specific ahead of the Budget next week.

The Exchequer Secretary was keen to impress upon me how pleased the Government is with the cider industry.

The Government has a good track record of freezing and cutting duties on this great British product and I was left with the impression that there may be good news for the industry in the coming Budget.

The Exchequer Secretary assured me that the Government will make strong representations to the EU Commission about the ruling and the effect it could have on small-scale cider and perry producers who currently benefit from the exemption.

I was pleased and impressed with the support shown by the Exchequer Secretary for this vital Herefordshire industry.

Having been named ‘Beer Champion’ earlier this month, I was delighted I was able to make representations for the cider industry at this particularly sensitive time.”