24 Mar

ABTA response to the Budget

ABTA’s Public Affairs team has studied the Budget Pack and highlighted a number of points made in today’s budget which will affect the travel industry sector:

• Air Passenger Duty is held as further increases have already been announced to take effect in November 2010. APD will thereafter rise by inflation on an annual basis.

• Government support for expansion at Heathrow was further supported by the Chancellor noting that the Government would continue to support improvements to the country’s transport infrastructure also through high-speed rail and Crossrail. 

• Banks with substantial public sector ownership will lend more to businesses in the coming year. £41 billion will be lent to small businesses. The majority of ABTA Members are small and medium sized enterprises. A Small Business Credit Adjudicator will also be created with statutory powers to enforce its judgements on bank lending decisions and a new service will ensure small businesses are treated fairly when applying for loans.

• A temporary increase in the level of small business rate relief

• An extension of Entrepreneurs’ Relief from the first £1 million to the first £2 million of gains made over a lifetime

• Providing better access to relevant tax guidance and flexible tax payment plans to help businesses manage their cash flow.

• Rules regarding Furnished Holiday Lettings will be repealed ignoring representations from ABTA and its members to reform the system.

Luke Pollard, ABTA Head of Public Affairs said: “This budget is largely as expected. There are no big headline rises in taxes for the sector, while there is support for businesses. However, whichever government is elected after 6 May will need to tackle deficit, which is likely to mean a combination of public sector cuts and increased taxation still to come.

“As a sector we now need to remain focussed on our Manifesto asks in this area. We want a reform of Air Passenger Duty to a per-plane basis more closely aligned to distance travelled and the efficiency of the aircraft; and reform in consumer financial protection. We will lobby strongly against rises that seek to disproportionately burden our sector with additional taxes.”

Daryl Nurthen, ABTA Business Support Manager said: “It would appear businesses could be assisted from this budget. We will investigate what these benefits could be and make sure we provide as much detail as we can so that our Members can access them.”