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Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 11:11 UK

Party set up in North Somerset calls for cider tax cut

Ian Summerell
Cider is part of the heritage of Somerset

A group of pub-goers in North Somerset have created the Cider Party with the aim of getting rid of the recent 10% tax rise on the drink.

Party leader Ian Summerell will not be standing in any election but will lobby prospective parliamentary candidates in an effort to have the tax dropped.

The rise was announced last month by Chancellor Alistair Darling.

Mr Darling said he was bringing taxation on cider in line with that levied on beer.

Many ciders are brewed in Somerset where the drink is part of the area's heritage.

Mr Summerell, from Nailsea, said it was important to back cider-makers in the West Country.

"I thought we ought to start a political movement. The Americans have got the Tea Party movement so I thought, well, perhaps a cider party," he said.

"I've started a Facebook group, we're only small but we want the 10% removed and if the chancellor can do it before they call the election - brilliant.

"If not, we are going to lobby prospective parliamentary candidates and ask for the 10% to be removed."

The Treasury estimates the charge will bring in an extra £30m a year and ministers argue that raising the cost of "super-strength" varieties will help deter teenagers from binge-drinking.

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