The government has shelved unpopular plans to slap a 10% take hike on cider until after the election.

The duty increase was squeezed out as the government pushes through legislation ahead of Parliament’s dissolution on 12 April.

Cider will now be subject to only the 2% duty increase imposed on all alcoholic drinks – although the extra increase will be imposed if Labour hangs on to power when the nation goes to the polls on 6 May.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said in last week’s Budget that cider had been historically under-taxed – but news of the proposed increase was met with dismay by cider makers and drinkers.

The Conservatives have vowed not to impose the additional levy if they seize power.

The British Beer & Pub Association called on the government to re-think its taxation on beer.

"The arguments for abandoning the proposed tax increase on cider are equally compelling for beer," said chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

"Just as you consider cider's 2.4 pence a pint tax increase to be punitive at a time when British firms are struggling to emerge from recession, so is beer's 2.4 pence a pint tax increase.

"We therefore ask you to extend the same support to beer and pubs you are proposing extending to cider makers and abandon the planned tax increase on Britain's national drink."

Read more
Hike in cider duty of 13.1% could hit sector revival say suppliers (27 March 2010)
Chancellor stings cider makers with 10% duty hike (24 March 2010)