Brussels has launched a full frontal assault on Britain’s cider industry. A letter sent by the European Commission to the British Treasury demands tax-relief should be abolished for small-scale British cider producers. This would mean many ciders would become more expensive, no longer benefiting from the current ‘Duty-Free’ status. We at Get Britain Out find this despicable and will fight this new duty tooth and nail. Our campaign to Get Britain Out, encourages supporters of UKIP to sign our petition today, urging the Chancellor George Osborne to block any EU attempts to stifle our cider business.
We are continually facing consumer choice being eroded by Brussels, along with our general freedoms. You might be surprised to learn at least 60% of Britons drink cider. And because of the government’s “Duty-Free” tax-exemption here, we all enjoy a wide variety of specialist ciders, not least because our fruit producers have encouraged so many varieties of apples. If these small producers are driven out of business, we will be left with only the big brands – like Strongbow and Magners – which cannot compare to the quality and local pride that comes from small cider manufacturers.
This would not be the first time the EU has tried to strangle small and medium-sized British businesses. What is more insidious is that by targeting cider, they are targeting the British way of life.
In 1976 the British Government introduced an exemption from alcohol duty for our small cider producers, ie for those which produce less than 12,000 pints of cider a year. It was brought in because the government of the day wanted to help small and medium sized businesses thrive in the cider industry. Without this exemption, British consumers would not enjoy the boundless variety of ciders available in the market.
While our small manufacturers risk losing the arrangements our government has put in place, we see the previous damage Brussels has done to the likes of Greece and other struggling countries on the periphery of Europe. The EU wants to impose a one-size fits all approach and keep the rules uniform, so a small or medium business which trades locally has to follow the same rules as a multinational. The fact is, most businesses in Britain trade within a 5-mile radius of their base – and do not even trade with other EU Member States, so they do not need to adhere to EU diktats.
Our system of Common Law benefits from a flexible approach which our continental counterparts lack and do not want. We all know the EU is gradually eroding our legal traditions. Whether it is the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta, or the hallowed principle of parliamentary sovereignty – our membership of the EU is making it all disappear. At the very least, the Great British Public must succeed in fighting to save our treasured cider industry and fruit producers through our petition.
We have just over a month to convince the Treasury to fight Brussels to preserve Britain’s cider producers. Get Britain Out’s petition will do just that. If we don’t persuade the government to challenge EU taxes on our cider, many small producers will be forced out of business, farmers who grow their apples will soon follow, and lastly, consumers will feel the pinch with higher prices forced on us as a result of this EU ruling. Get Britain Out wants to gather as many signatures from members of the Great British Public before the deadline expires in late April.
Therefore, it is important our petition receives as many signatures as possible. We must protect our small and medium businesses and the British way of life from EU interference. Of course, the only way to secure our independence is to Get Britain Out of the EU, but until then we must implore you to support our petition.
The petition, organised by Get Britain Out, can be signed at https://www.change.org/p/british-government-stop-the-eu-holding-cider-drinkers-over-a-barrel
Alan Murad, Research Executive, Get Britain Out
Photo by grongar