September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Think-tank Reform Scotland believes retaining air passenger duty (APD) is ‘out of step’ with other European countries.
The independent non-party group has published a briefing paper in which it reinforces the Scottish government’s plans to bring forward proposals to cut and then scrap APD.
The tax was devolved to the Scottish government following last year’s referendum result, with the SNP vowing to reduce the tax from April 2018 before abolishing it entirely "when public finances allow".
Reform Scotland said scrapping APD could be matched by increases in revenue from other sources such as job growth, productivity growth and tourism expenditure.
In addition, Reform Scotland’s briefing – Cut then scrap: The case against Air Passenger Duty – has highlighted the benefits to Scots, and Reform Scotland cliams they would save "significant sums of money" on their own travel if the tax were scrapped.
It also highlights the fact that only four other EU countries now have a similar tax, with several others having scrapped it in recent years.
Reform Scotland chairman Alan McFarlane, said: “Although the SNP was the only main party at the Scottish election whose manifesto pledged to cut the tax, numerous other groups, many of whom are referred to in this briefing, also back the proposal.
“This included those associated with the business community, due to the potential positive impact it would have on economic growth.”
McFarlane added: “Reform Scotland believes that the Scottish Government should proceed with its plans to cut the tax. Countries across Europe, including Ireland, Belgium, Holland and Denmark, have scrapped their air passenger tax in recent years. By retaining ours, we are out of step with the rest of the EU.”
Earlier this month, the results of a three-month consultation revealed environmental concerns over plans to scrap the tax.
Scottish green party member Andy Wightman said: "It's disappointing that the finance minister is not heeding the concerns being expressed in this consultation.
"The Scottish government seems intent on pressing ahead but there is clearly not a majority in parliament for scrapping APD.
"Ministers would do well to consider ways to use the new tax powers to promote social justice rather than simply giving a tax break to an already under-taxed heavily-polluting industry and wealthy frequent fliers."
Scottish Labour also called for the APD proposals to be scrapped.
Transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: "Labour have argued for years that cutting Air Passenger Duty won't make Scotland fairer or greener.
"An APD cut is the wrong priority at the wrong time, and now the SNP government's own consultation agrees with us. This is a major embarrassment for the SNP."
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