More than 115,000 emails have been sent to Conservative MPs calling for a Treasury review into the economic impact of Air Passenger Duty.
Over 200,000 people have emailed their MP (including Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs) and a further 80,000 non-UK residents have emailed the Treasury in 14 weeks in what is being claimed as one of the biggest social media campaigns ever co-ordinated.
Prime minister David Cameron has received 460 emails from constituents and opposition leader Ed Miliband, 148 emails. Cabinet members Vince Cable and Michael Gove are in the ‘top 10 most emailed MPs’ list, having been sent 1,171 and 1,224 respectively.
The figures, disclosed today (Wednesday) by the A Fair Tax on Flying lobby group, also show that 17 MPs have been sent more than 1,000 emails each following a summer campaign opposing APD. Tory MPs have received 116,071 emails, Labour MPs 55,701 and Lib Dems 17,507.
Organisers claim pressure is now mounting on the Treasury to commission an impact assessment on APD.
Almost 100 MPs have added their names to a parliamentary motion expressing concern about the financial impact of APD “on ordinary families and their ability to fly”.
Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard said: “The government is searching for ways of stimulating the economy – reviewing APD is one of those ways.
“A review into the economic impacts of APD costs little and could bring in big benefits not just to aviation but to every industry that uses aviation to sell their goods and services if the policy changes.
“The voting public, British businesses and international travellers have made their views clear and the government cannot afford to ignore an email campaign on this scale.”
Airport Operators Association chief executive Darren Caplan added: “It’s simply incredible that so many constituents have decided to express to MPs their concern about the UK having the highest levels of Air Passenger Duty in the world.
“The prime minister’s in-tray now contains nearly 500 messages about the ‘A Fair Tax on Flying’ initiative, and many Cabinet Ministers and MPs have received over 1,000 emails each.
“It is clear that aviation tax is now a postbag issue for politicians all over the country, and that the government should respond to the campaign by commissioning research into the impact these eye-wateringly high levels of APD are having on the wider UK economy.”
British Air Transport Association chief executive Simon Buck said: “We recognise that the need to meet the fiscal deficit is a high priority for the government, but there is strong evidence to suggest that imposing the highest taxes on flying in the world is damaging to the UK economy.
“It is time for the government to carry out a review into the impact of the tax to determine whether tourism, inward investment and jobs are suffering as a result.”