As Alliance Party candidate in Newry and Armagh for the forthcoming Westminster Election, I welcome news that the Cider tax increase will be reversed.
Whilst the 10% tax rise contained within Alistair Darling's Budget started from the end of March 2010 negotiations between the political parties at Westminster before Parliament was dissolved have resulted in a reversal of the tax rise from 30 June 2010. The Chancellor decided to increase the tax in an effort to stop the abuse of high-strength alcoholic drinks.
Alistair Darling's decision to hike up the tax on Cider was a short sighted decision to try and raise as much money as possible to plug the massive hole in the UK's Finances. The Chancellor's justification for the tax increase rings hollow since the main impact of the tax increase is to punish everyday cider drinkers and the businesses which supply the massive amount of apples required each year to create the high quality cider brands available in most pubs and off licences. The government should instead focus on the causes of alcoholism and, if required, specifically target high-strength alcoholic drinks rather than adopt a scatter gun approach and punish everyone.
The decision to reverse the tax rise is however only a temporary reprieve since the Labour Government intend to reintroduce the rise if elected on 6 May 2010. If elected on 6 May I will work hard to ensure that the tax rise is permanently abandoned and ensure the Orchards across County Armagh are allowed to grow and blossom unhindered by such ill thought out tax rises.
22 April 2010