HEREFORDSHIRE cider-makers have given their reaction to changes to tax cuts for some of the drinks they produce, announced in the chancellor's budget.

Rishi Sunak announced a range of changes to alcohol duty in his budget yesterday.

Alcohol will now be taxed on the basis of its strength rather than the current system, which has been in place for decades.

Fruit ciders and low alcohol spirit drinks, such as gin and tonic in a can, below 3.5 per cent ABV will have lower rates

A new Small Producer Relief will give tax reliefs to small brewers and distillers of beer, cider (for the first time) and other alcoholic drinks less than 8.5 per cent ABV.

In reaction to the budget, Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said: "Chancellor has just announced a lower rate of duty on small cider producers. Plus draft relief for pubs! #tremendous"

Denis Gwatkin, of Gwatkin Cider Company, in Abbey Dore, said the announcements were good news.

He said: "Everything to do with the industry has been going up over the years, it's nice that something has finally come down.

"I think it's good they're helping pubs and shops, the people who sell the cider, as well as those making it."

Mr Gwatkin said he felt the changes would benefit Herefordshire as a whole.

"It's good for Herefordshire as there are a lot of jobs tied up in the cider industry. It will benefit people who have jobs in this industry as well as businesses."

Tom Oliver, of Oliver's Cider and Perry, in Ocle Pychard, near Burley gate, said he believed he would actually be paying more in duty.

"I think they've adjusted the general approach to the way they tally duty in a good way. But the reality is for producers of my size, it will cost me more in duty.

He said that the changes were more likely to benefit cideries who produce smaller amounts of cider.

"I'd say it's very good for sub-7,000 litres. But for higher strength ciders it will cost more," he said.