New cider chief urges Government to support industry

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

New NACM chair Martin Thatcher addressing delegates at the cider group reception in Parliament
New NACM chair Martin Thatcher addressing delegates at the cider group reception in Parliament

Related tags Cider makers Apple Cider

The new chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) delivered a strong message to MPs and government officials at a Westminster reception last night.

Martin Thatcher, whose family has been at the heart of cidermaking in Somerset for four generations, used his first keynote address to promise that producers will deliver an even greater contribution to UK plc if Government policy recognises the unique nature of cider and critically the long-term planning and commitment required.

The cider industry is worth over £3bn a year in sales and supporting more than 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly, according to NACM figures.

He said: “Freezing the duty on cider and scrapping the Duty Escalator in the spring was great news, though the benefit will be short-lived if government fails to recognise that the investment decisions we make tie us to commitments that last decades.

“When we talk to growers and farmers about planting new orchards we are asking them to accept no income for a couple of years and to wait seven years for a full crop, weather permitting.

'Bright future'

“They will only contemplate doing that if we guarantee to buy their apples for 25 years and if we can convince them that we will continue to invest to increase consumer appeal with a broader and innovative range of great ciders that people want to buy.

“Cider has a bright future – the fact that cider makers and growers are prepared to make that commitment is testament to their confidence – with support from government we can deliver that potential and do more to support the rural communities we are part of.”

Politicians and guests at the reception - jointly hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Cider Group - heard that the cider makers are sticking to their commitment to increase the area planted as orchards by 10% in the next few years.

Thatcher takes over from previous chair Paul Bartlett.

Related topics Cider

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