MSPs back new Scottish air departure tax (not APD)… but Greens warn SNP not to cut charges
Scottish Ministers will set out the rates and bands for a new tax to replace Air Passenger Duty (APD) in Scotland. It paves the way for the Scottish Government to fulfil their commitment to halve the tax on departing air passengers, by the end of this Parliament. The Bill to create air departure tax was approved by 108 votes to 11, and it will come into force from April 2018. Ministers will set out the rates and bands for the new charge in the autumn. These will also have to be approved by MSPs. Though Scottish Labour backed the law, they don’t want the tax to be cut. The Greens and Lib Dems voted against any cut and against the change from APD. The Scottish Greens said they may snub budget talks with SNP ministers next year unless the SNP rethinks their plan to cut the air tax. The minority SNP administration relied on Green votes to pass this year’s budget. The Scottish economy cannot afford to lose the income from an air departure tax – public services are already short of funds. It makes even less sense, when the main beneficiaries of cutting the air tax are those rich enough to fly a lot. Not the poor. Edinburgh airport claimed it had a record year in 2016 – demonstrating that APD.is not deterring passengers. Cutting the tax would mean more incentive to fly, which would cause higher carbon emissions – at a time when we should be cutting them.
MSPs back new air departure tax … but Greens warn SNP not to slash charges
Minister will set out rates and bands for new tax in autumn after approving the Bill by 108 votes to 11.
21 JUN 2017 (Scottish Daily Record)
Ministers will set out the rates and bands for the new charge in the autumn
Holyrood overwhelmingly backed legislation yesterday to establish a new tax to replace air passenger duty in Scotland.
It paves the way for the Scottish Government to fulfil their commitment to halve the levy by the end of this Parliament.
MSPs approved the Bill to create air departure tax by 108 votes to 11. It will come into force from April next year.
Ministers will set out the rates and bands for the new charge in the autumn. These will also have to be approved by MSPs.
Scottish Labour backed the law but don’t want the levy to be cut. The Greens and Lib Dems voted against.
Last night, the Greens warned they may snub budget talks with SNP ministers next year unless they rethink plans to slash charges.
The minority SNP administration relied on Green votes to pass this year’s budget.
Across Scotland, our NHS and our police force are facing millions of pounds of more cuts. We will see more services reduced and jobs lost. Communities are crying out for investment not yet more cuts.
In such circumstances it is bizarre that after a year of no legislation going through the Scottish Parliament the SNP Government’s priority is to make business class flights cheaper.
Ordinary families will gain almost nothing whilst the airport owners and corporate passengers will gain most with the top 20 per cent of earners £73 a year better off whilst the poorest would save just £4.50. Once again the SNPs progressive rhetoric is not matched by their actions.
Only last week Edinburgh airport claimed it has had a record year. It appears that air passenger duty is not preventing anyone travelling to and from Scotland. The proposal will also increase carbon emissions at a time when we should be cutting them.
This is the wrong move at the wrong time.
When the SNP Government consulted on this, they were embarrassed to find that most responses agreed with Labour. The SNP Government should stop this illogical move now.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Scottish Government had a button it could push that would deliver economic prosperity and jobs quickly? A button that would attract investment and allow hundreds of thousands of Scots to realise their aspirations more cheaply?
They have it in their grasp – the reduction of Air Passenger Duty.
Put simply, APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with other European countries to attract airlines and therefore tourists and business opportunities. At present our economy is footing the bill in lost jobs and lost opportunities. It’s also damaging the ability for families in Scotland to travel and to take advantage of the amazing connectivity we have from Edinburgh.Tourism is our biggest business and its only limit is our ability to connect to the world.
The economic benefit of a reduction will vastly outweigh any lost tax revenues. Our economic modelling has shown that not only will the cut pay for itself quickly, it will boost our economy quickly.
The case is clear and the consensus growing – this is a real way to boost the economy, create jobs and signal to those in Europe and around the globe that Scotland is open and welcoming.
Let’s forget this griping that it this is only for the rich. Tell that to the thousands of hardworking Scottish families holidaying abroad this summer.
The Scottish Government must now push the button – the reduction will benefit all.
New report shows Scot Gov plan to cut aviation tax will damage Scotland and mainly benefit frequent fliers
A new report published by Scottish Green MSPs shows that the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation tax will cost the Scottish public purse hundreds of millions of pounds and put £47.3million into the pockets of businesses. It also shows wealthy frequent fliers stand to gain hugely more from the tax cut than regular travellers. This week the Scottish Greens will make a final attempt to amend the Air Departure Tax Bill at Holyrood so that instead of rewarding wealthy households and corporations and a highly-polluting industry, any new tax regime encourages a reduction in aviation and a shift towards cleaner forms of transport. The report finds that much of the benefit of the planned cut will accrue to those living in Scotland’s central belt; only 6% of all international flights by UK residents are taken by children, so the SNP’s claim that this policy will help “families” is highly misleading; such a generous tax subsidy for business flights within the UK will harm rail travel by incentivising a shift towards air travel; and reducing the cost of air travel will lower the cost of taking holidays outside of Scotland relative to holidays within Scotland, “cannibalising” holidaymakers from Scotland’s domestic tourism industry and worsening the deficit between what we spend abroad and what visitors spend here.