Budget does little damage to travel trade

The travel industry can breathe a sigh of relief after today’s budget as it emerged relatively unscathed from any major increases of taxation.

Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard said there had been fears the chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, would bring forward the date of the increase in Air Passenger Duty from November, but he failed to do so.

However, he added after November APD will rise in accordance with inflation on an annual basis.

Pollard expressed concern that a new measure to stop public sector workers from booking business-class tickets on flights of up to five hours in a bid to save £13 million could hurt business travel agents.

The repeal of the furnished holidays lettings rules, which gave a tax break to owners of holiday-let homes, is going ahead as planned later in the year.

Pollard also said there was some good news for small and medium-sized enterprises in the trade following Darling’s announcement to ensure the high street banks lend cash on fairer terms.

“I think we have had a lucky escape this time round. We’ve escaped the really big tax rises that we were expecting,” said Pollard.

“However, there will be a budget after the election and a pre-budget report in November so there are potentially two further chances this year where the government could turn its attention on our sector.”

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