Speaking at a reception of the Parliamentary Cider Group, he said: “The work on a new, robust definition of cider is a very positive thing and the duty settlement, after a scare in March, was good.
“The new cider definition is designed to address a very small part of the total market in a way that is not disruptive or punitive to the majority of cider produced and sold.
“It also offers evidence that there are alternatives to the blunt instrument that is a universal increase in duty. However, any change of this nature can take a considerable period for the effects to be felt and fully understood.”?He said it would take “several months” before any objective assessment can be made on the impact of the change, with this month's increase in VAT and the duty escalator for all alcohol in the March Budget having additional effects.
“We should recognise that some retailers may not consolidate the impact of the duty definition for a few months yet and then, after a further period, we will start to understand how it has worked. We therefore ask for patience in judging the effectiveness of the minimum juice content rule,” he added.