A LOCAL cider maker is raising a glass to the Chancellor after he vowed to change an EU ruling regarding small cider producers.
Steve Cooper, head cider maker at Tardebigge Cider, is rejoicing at the decision which comes after MEP for the West Midlands, Daniel Dalton, lobbied for the rule change.
Earlier this year the EU Commission ordered the UK to end its tax exemption on producers making around 33 pints a day or less, in a move which could have led to the demise of many of them.
George Osbourne is now due to discuss the reforms with the Commission which explicitly allows member states to support small businesses such as Steve’s.
And the Chancellor has promised the current duty exemption will stay in place until and unless a replacement scheme is established.
Steve told The Standard: “It’s a great weight off our minds. It is wonderful news for small cider makers – we keep alive the diversity of the products and we would have gone out of business overnight.
Mr Dalton, who has campaigned for the change to grant cider producers the same European tax status as small traditional beer and wine producers, said: “This is great news for our very unique and very local cider industry.”