Bristol 'muck spreader' launches the Zider Party to oppose cider tax
By Nailsea People | Friday, April 02, 2010, 07:00
A lifelong cider drinker has launched his own political party to campaign for the removal of the Government's 10 per cent tax hike on the West country's favourite tipple.
Ian Summerell, 53, who describes himself as "an unemployed muck spreader" has launched the Zider Party in his home town of Nailsea to lobby for the removal of the cider tax, revealed by chancellor Alistair Darling at the recent budget.
The group, which already has more than 50 members, plans to lobby candidates in the run up to the general election to drop the hike in duty which came into force last month.
Campaigners want the newly elected Government to revoke the tax when it takes over the reins of power.
The above inflation tax increase will mean drinkers paying about 5p more a litre and 9p more for a 750ml bottle of cider – the equivalent of about 10p a pint.
Mr Summerell, a former Nailsea town councillor, said: "The campaign is a modern day pitch fork rebellion and we will campaign at the next election for the removal of the 10 per cent tax on cider.
"This additional tax is going to be detrimental to cider producers in the West Country as well as local pubs and their customers.
"The group is growing daily and we already have more than 50 members. People feel passionately that this tax is unfair and want to see it dropped.
"We will be lobbying our local MPs and parliamentary candidates in the run up to the general election, by email and letter writing. Cider drinking and production is a West Country tradition and I can remember as a child there were a number of cider farms around Nailsea.
A Facebook page – Zider Party – to support the campaign has been launched and a petition has been put in the Royal Oak pub in the High Street.
The pub has a long standing cider tradition and the late Adge Cutler and his band The Wurzels recorded their first album, which included the iconic song Drink Up Thee Zider, live at the town centre inn in 1966.
Pub landlord and cider drinker Martin Spours, 42, said: "I sell a lot of cider and this could affect sales.
"It is unfair and money grabbing ploy aimed at the West Country."
Woodspring MP, Dr Liam Fox has also criticised the cider tax.
Dr Fox said: "A new cider tax, in the form of a massive 10 per cent rise in duties on all cider, will punish responsible drinkers."
Anyone wanting to sign the petition can do so at the pub and people can join the Zider Party on Facebook.