James Carver, local MEP for the West Midlands, has today pledged to offer spirited support to cider producers who could be hit by an unfair EU tax.
UKIP MEP James Carver, is to add his name to a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) petition, which will be presented to Downing Street on June 10.
The major petition, which has so far secured more than 20,000 signatures, calls on the British Government to support the cider sector by rejecting an EU demand that a new tax of up to £2,700 is imposed on very small cider producers, who make under £10,000 in sales a year.
Currently, small-scale cider producers making less than 33 pints a day are exempt from paying tax under UK law.
CAMRA fears the proposed EU action would make the small-scale production uneconomic and lead to the widespread closures of producers.
Commenting today, James Carver MEP, said: “I believe that this unfair EU tax could drive many people in the cider industry out of business. Small-scale producers would be severely hit by this EU interference.
“I will sign this petition and call on as many people as possible to do the same.
“Our Government should stand up to the EU and defend the interests of our cider and perry industry.”
Tom Stainer, Head of Communications at CAMRA, said: “The majority of real cider comes from small-scale producers and has long been part of rural tradition and culture.
“The proposed action by the European Union is wholly disproportionate, given that a small producer selling up to 33 pints a day has no capacity to affect EU trade to any meaningful degree.
“If these producers are driven out of business it will dramatically reduce consumer choice and cause irreparable damage to one of the nation’s most historic industries,” he added.