Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has joined campaign representatives from the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying Campaign’ at their pre- Budget event in the House of Commons.
The campaign is calling for a cut of at least 50% in Air Passenger Duty (APD), the tax that the Government levies on passengers flying from UK airports. UK APD is the highest tax of its kind in any significant economy. It is twice the rate applied in Germany which has the next highest rate in the EU. UK economy class flyers are hit with £75 per ticket on long-haul flights, and £13 per ticket on short-haul. For all other classes, the tax is £150 per long-haul ticket, and £26 per short-haul ticket.
The campaigners argue that APD is a tax on trade and that it should be halved as a sign that Britain is open for business as we approach Brexit. They claim the current high level of the tax makes UK businesses uncompetitive and that it hits families and the economy too by driving up the cost of holidays.
Commenting, Steve said:
“As the date of our departure from the EU gets ever closer, it’s vital that British business is Brexit-ready and that it is given every possible encouragement to reach out to new and existing markets to increase trade and support regional airports such as Cornwall Airport Newquay. That’s why I am supporting the call for a decisive cut of at least 50% in this ‘Tax on Trade’’.
Commenting, Fair Tax on Flying spokesman Dale Keller said:
“We welcome the support of Steve in our campaign to reduce Air Passenger Duty.”
“Currently, UK APD is among the highest tax of its kind anywhere in the world and is the highest in the EU. It puts the UK economy at a severe competitive disadvantage when compared to our European neighbours, and makes it harder for our airports to attract new routes to both traditional and emerging markets.”
“It is a nothing short of a ‘tax on trade’. If the UK Government wants to signal that a Brexit Britain is open for Business, what better way than cutting this tax and providing a much-needed boost to our international and domestic connectivity.”
At the event, Steve and other MPs were briefed by members of the campaign on the financial benefits that cutting APD would bring to the UK economy.
Analysis by the campaign group ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’, expanding upon previous reports undertaken by PwC in 2013 and 2015, suggests that cutting APD by at could boost UK GDP by at least £5bn in the first year, and by over £20bn by 2022.
The ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ campaign is backed by ABTA, the Airport Operator’s Association, Airlines UK, the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK) as well as a number of major airlines, airports, travel companies and Unite the Union.
Currently, economy class passengers on long haul flights from most UK airports are charged £75 APD on their ticket, and those flying premium, business, and first class are charged £150.
This is more than double the next highest EU aviation tax which is levied in Germany and is £31.95 regardless of class of ticket.