A campaign calling for the UK Government to significantly reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) to at least half the current levels across all of the UK has launched ahead of the Budget.
The campaign, A Fair Tax on Flying for the Whole Country, is calling for the UK Government to guarantee APD will be applied fairly and consistently throughout the UK, to ensure that families in one part of the country are not having to pay more tax to enjoy an annual holiday than those in other parts of the country. Campaigners have taken the fight for a lower, fairer rate of APD to Parliament. MPs from across the political divide are vigorously lobbying Ministers – by tabling Parliamentary questions, signing a Commons motion, and sending letters to the Chancellor – urging the Government to dramatically cut APD in March’s budget. The industry recently met with 10 supportive MPs to discuss the issue in further detail and next-steps, and 20 MPs have signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion.
The campaign is being led by ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ – a coalition of travel and tourism partners seeking lower levels of APD in order to boost the UK economy, particularly our tourism sector. A Fair Tax on Flying has successfully campaigned previously to reduce and simplify long haul rates of APD, and to exempt children from paying the tax.
The Scottish Government has pledged to cut APD by 50% (with a view to subsequently abolishing it altogether) from 2018 to boost tourism and business travel in Scotland. The campaign welcomes the Scottish Government’s recognition that APD is a damaging tax, but are calling for any reduction of APD in Scotland to be met with reductions elsewhere in the UK to ensure a lower, fairer APD for the whole country.
Stephen D'Alfonso, ABTA's Head of Public Affairs, speaking on behalf of the campaign said:
“APD is among the highest taxes of its kind anywhere in the world, and at its current level, it is unfair on families and business across the UK. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor committed in the General Election campaign to ensuring that cities and regions would not lose out as a result of devolution, and it is clear that inconsistent rates of APD across the UK will put some at a real disadvantage.
“Surely the Government does not consider it fair for a family from Falmouth to pay double the amount of APD on their summer holiday as a family from Falkirk, and for a small electronic components business from Glasgow trading with China to pay half as much APD as a similar business from Grimsby? APD should not be a postcode lottery.
“No matter where in the UK you live, you pay the same amount of tax when you buy a pint or go out for a meal – why should APD be any different?”