Crackdown on cheap cider plan welcomed by MPs

MPS Caroline Flint and Ed Miliband have welcomed a Government pledge to hold a consultation which could lead to a crackdown on cheap cider.
Caroline Flint (left) and Ed MilibandCaroline Flint (left) and Ed Miliband
Caroline Flint (left) and Ed Miliband

General alcohol duties are to rise in line with inflation, but the Chancellor Philip Hammond has committed to a separate consultation on high strength cider.

Don Valley MP Ms Flint and Doncaster North MP Mr Miliband visited Doncaster Royal Infirmary earlier this year to meet patients suffering alcohol problems linked to super-strength cider.

They have called for the tax rate on such drinks after a report by the Alcohol Health Alliance, which wants to see a tax imposed on super-strength drinks, said street drinkers and children accounted for nearly all sales of strong ciders due to their low price and high strength.

The AHA said three-litre bottles of the ciders, which can contain as much alcohol as 22 vodka shots cost as little as £3.49, or 16p per unit.

Mr Flint said: “This is a welcome move.  

“Both Ed Miliband and I saw the evidence of the role of cheap cider, the chosen drink of many problem drinkers who were being treated at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

“I hope we can use the evidence from our hospital wards, to convince the Government that high strength cider should have the same duty as similar strength beer.”

Mr Miliband: “Caroline and I wrote a forceful letter to the Chancellor after meeting specialist, staff and patients at the DRI.  

“It is time to end the incredibly low tax on high-strength ciders.”

The Government’s Budget red book states: “The Government will consult on introducing a new duty band for still cider just below 7.5 per cent alcohol-by-volume to target white ciders.”