Central Devon MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride offered to “go into bat” for the cider industry during a recent visit to Sandford Orchards Cider Works in Crediton. The MP, who has previously been recognised by the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) for his work to support the industry, agreed to press the Treasury to do more to back the industry which supports around 11,500 jobs, growing 15,600 acres of orchards and attracts more than 1 million visitors annually to cider making & orchard growing regions. He made the pledge to Barny Butterfield, Chief Cider Maker at Sandford Orchards, after discussing the recent changes to alcohol duty that took effect in August.
Mr Stride said:
“Cider is to the West Country what Whisky is to Scotland, yet we don’t see it celebrated and promoted in the same way. When it comes to alcohol duty for instance, a wider variety of factors need to be considered, including the environmental benefits of cider orchards, and how supporting the industry is helping to preserve part of our regional heritage. I will make this case to the Treasury.”
“A third of the world’s cider is produced in the West Country and there is a huge opportunity to grow the industry, export cider to the rest of the world and for the UK economy to benefit massively. The latest changes in alcohol duty have added significant burden on those making the most traditional of ciders and I am grateful to Mel for his visit to hear the impact these changes have had on cider makers. I welcome that he will be putting our concerns to Treasury ministers.”
For more information about Sandford Orchards visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk.