Tougher ‘green taxes’ could be imposed on airlines as the coalition government seeks to raise more income from environmental measures.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne has indicated that people flying on holiday and business will be targeted under plans to raise environmental levies by £15 billion to free hundreds of thousands of people from income tax.
He is reportedly drawing up proposals for the proportion of government revenue raised by environmental taxes to rise from 7.7% to 10% within five years, from £35 billion a year to around £50 billion.
A review of Air Passenger Duty, which is likely to be replaced by a ‘per plane’ tax, is already underway.
APD is set to rise from November despite protests from the travel industry and evidence showing certain markets including the Caribbean have been badly affected by previous increases.
Huhne supported a motion from delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool which proposed that green taxes should account for 10% of government revenue.
He praised plans to review aviation duty and issue a climate change levy on polluting businesses.
“I don’t want us to stop there, and I don’t want the third coalition commitment, to increase the proportion of tax revenue accounted for by green taxes, to be fulfilled only by taking those two steps,” he said.
“And whatever we do with the revenue, green taxes help us meet our climate targets and our environmental goals.
“Furthermore, all the evidence is that the green tax switch is popular as long as people can see the extra revenue being used to cut other taxes.”