Sunday, 8 March 2015

Excise duty on Cider

Normally this is the sort of story that Richard North pounces on; the dear old Grauniad headlines a story "Four out of five cider-makers under threat from EU tax call" only for it to turn out to be all Ed Balls' fault.  

OK. The story comes from this EU Commission press release
Taxation: Commission requests the UNITED KINDGOM to amend its excise duty legislation granting exemption for cider and perry made by small producers
The European Commission has today formally requested the United Kingdom to amend its excise duty scheme that exempts from duty cider and perry made by small domestic producers. This exemption concerns producers, whose production does not exceed 70 hectolitres over a period of 12 consecutive months and who make such products for sale.
EU excise duty rules oblige Member States to levy an excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages. There are no provisions which would provide for an exception to the general obligation to levy excise duty in respect of cider and perry made for sale by small domestic producers. The UK excise duty scheme therefore contravenes EU legislation, which was unanimously agreed and which does not allow for such exemption in any of the Member States.
The EU of course doesn't specify how much excise duty should be - and indeed it can be 0%, and actually is 0% in many EU nations. It also doesn't prevent a fast-track for simple nil returns from small scale producers; the full range of excise duties charged (January 2015) on cider by EU members can be seen HERE

The answer is wholly with the UK government. The suspicion of small cider makers is that Cameron's administration, so amenable to big-business interests, is acting on behalf of the industrial cider factories to squash small scale craft production. And the evidence does seem to point this way.

Of course Osborne could solve the problem with a zero rate for small producers but with a balancing increase in duty on ethanol (otherwise large producers would get the first 7,000 litres duty-free as well). Factory cider is made of ethanol, tap water and unfermented apple juice* with just enough real cider added to disguise the taste. Increasing the duty rate on ethanol would hit the big industrial alcopop and fake cider makers and leave the craft makers unaffected.

Well, Dave?

*I.e. like that in the pasteurised tetrapak cartons. Whether the apples were hand-picked by the migrant Mexican pickers at a Californian ranch or not is irrelevant.  


Span Ows said...

Your final paragraph made me laugh, a little off the tax topic but I have long said that when will people realise that the dozens and dozens of ciders now on the shop shelves begs the question where are all the apples coming from?"...of course the answer was always obvious: they're not! Same can be said of 'Angus' beef.

Bloke in Lincoln said...

You're overlooking the danger that craft producers of alc*hol present to the UK population. The extraordinary extra load placed on that envy of the world, our NHS, and its angelic employees because those evil craft producers are incentivised to produce and sell alc*hol more cheaply than it would otherwise be.

G. Tingey said...

Are CAMRA (Who are also interested in proper Cider & Perry) aware of this scam, yet?

As you say, it's down to our guvmint - or more likely the so-called "civil service" who are capable of fucking just about anything up.

G. Tingey said...

Not quite off-topic.
Seen THIS:

example of someone "in charge" having totally lost the plot?
What a tosser