Scottish agents are to maintain pressure to overhaul “unfair” Air Passenger Duty despite the tax being frozen for a year in this week’s Budget.
The Scottish Passenger Agents Association gave the decision by the Chancellor on Wednesday only a cautious welcome with president Brian Potter warning that underlying problems still exist.
“The current APD regime unfairly and disproportionately affects the UK regions, and it is damaging valuable air routes and passenger volumes,” he said.
“We must continue the fight for a fairer system – one which encourages responsible and sustainable growth in air services, rather than undermining their very survival, as in the case of the Bmi Glasgow-Heathrow service, to be withdrawn later this week.”
Potter added: “Between now and the next Budget the Scottish APD campaign will continue to work hard to secure a real terms reduction in the general levels of APD, and the withdrawal of the regional ‘double-dipping’ by government, which sees some Scottish travellers paying twice, for the privilege of connecting through London to onward destinations.
“In addition, given that the UK will be drawn into the European Emissions Trading Scheme in 2012, it is vital that the revenues raised should be offset against APD collections. In any other scenario it would be outrageous for the UK government to claim that APD is an environmental tax.
“If the chancellor really does intend to claim that his Budgets are targeted on economic growth, this is the only sensible way forward for the future.”