Plans for a devolved aviation tax for Scotland have passed the first legislative hurdle after a vote.
The Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill is designed to replace Air Passenger Duty with a Scottish levy.
Ministers want to cut the tax by 50% before eventually abolishing it “when finances allow”.
MSPs backed the general principles of the bill in the first stage of the legislative process, but many asked for more details on the plans.
The legislation passed the first stage vote by a margin of 112 votes to four, with six members abstaining.
The bill will now progress to the committee stage, before a further debate and vote in the chamber later in the year.
The finance committee had backed the general principles of the bill, but said it was essential that more information was provided.
Finance secretary Derek Mackay faced calls from MSPs to commission an independent economic analysis of the proposed 50% cut, to be published before or at the same time as consultations begin on rates and bands.
Mackay, who argues that the tax is “a barrier to Scotland’s ability to secure new direct international services and maintain existing ones”, has agreed to a review.
The stage one debate will be followed by the first vote on the legislation. If it passes this, there is a fresh phase of committee scrutiny and possible amendments, before the stage three vote and final vote in the chamber, according to the BBC.
If the legislation is passed by parliament, the first rates and bands for the tax are likely to be considered by MSPs after the summer recess.
Finance committee convener Bruce Crawford, an SNP MSP, said the group was “disappointed by the government’s lack of information on exemptions to the tax, and on the economic, social, financial and environmental impacts” of cutting the levy.
Scottish Conservatives have backed the abolition of tax on long-haul flights, which finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said would encourage more direct services from Scotland, cutting connecting flights and thus the country’s carbon footprint.
Scottish Labour also agreed that power over tax should be devolved, and backed the bill – but spoke out against the planned cut.
Transport spokesman Neil Bibby said cutting the duty would provide “a huge tax break to airlines who simply don’t need it”.
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