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A move by the UK Treasury to increase aviation tax by 10% in 2011-12 has met with scepticism by the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC)
A Treasury statement noted that: " Budget 2008 announces that the government will continue to strengthen this environmental signal, by increasing the forecast total tax revenue from aviation duty by 10 per cent in 2011-12, the second full year of operation for the new per plane duty.
"The public consultation on the design of the new per plane duty opened on 31 January and will close on 24 April."
However, this was met with short shrift by the GTMC. "This is another short-sighted tax-grab by government," said chief executive Philip Carlisle. "The Treasury's press notice supporting the Budget Statement explicity states that the purpose of this tax increase is to raise money for public services.
"GTMC acknowledges that aviation should bear the cost of its emissions, but we believe strongly that the revenue raised should fund either environmental projects or be used to develop much-needed transport infrastructure. Aviation should not be used as a means for the Chancellor to raise general revenue to help him balance the books."
Alistair Darling said that transport accounts for nearly one third of UK emissions, and while the government supports expansion at London Stansted and Heathrow, it does want aviation to be included in the European Trading Scheme (ETS) ” which imposes a cap on the carbon which companies can generate ” and instead of auctioning 7% of credits companies should have to auction 100%.
He also said he wanted to ensure greater use of biometrics at airports to speed up the time it takes to get through security controls.
From 2009, the Chancellor said there would be a reform of car tax bands and vehicle excise duty, to encourage drivers and manufacturers to use and produce the least-polluting cars.
And from 2010, the first year tax rate on new cars would be zero on the least polluting vehicles ” which emit less than 130grams ” but a higher rate for the worst polluters would apply.