The government is “disregarding the will of the people” by confirming a further 2.5% hike in Air Passenger Duty from next April, the Fair Tax on Flying campaign group says.
The industry lobby renewed calls for the Treasury to commission an economic impact-assessment of APD in the wake of confirmation of the tax rise in the Autumn Statement
Airport Operators Association chief executive Darren Caplan led criticism of the government.
“It defies belief that the Treasury continues to ignore the calls of 200,000 constituents regarding the UK’s eye-wateringly high levels of APD,” he said.
“It is also ignoring 100 MPs who signed a parliamentary petition, and 34 cross-party MPs who spoke at the recent House of Commons debate about the unfairness of this stealth tax.
“The government is disregarding the will of the people by continuing to increase APD, and ignoring widespread calls by MPs for a simple review into what is the highest air passenger tax in the world by far.”
Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard said: “The Chancellor is right to prioritise growth in his Autumn Statement, but that intent looks hollow whilst he yet again hikes UK air taxes.
“To further increase the world’s highest aviation tax whilst at the same time refusing to invest in proper modelling of the economic impacts of this tax is very concerning.
“This year, nearly 300,000 people have backed the industry’s call for a review that would show what effects this tax is having on the UK economy’s ability to grow. Without such an analysis, the government will only continue to put off foreign tourists, make holidays abroad more expensive and further make UK goods and services less competitive.”
British Air Transport Association chief executive Simon Buck added: “There is strong evidence to suggest that the imposition of the highest taxes on flying in the world costs the UK economy over 90,000 jobs and over £4 billion in lost business in 2012 alone.
“With APD raising £2.6 billion last year, we believe the Treasury is failing to exercise proper diligence in its management of the taxation system – effectively killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”
Board of Airline Representatives in the UK chief executive Dale Keller warned that foreign carriers are frustrated that the government continues to act unilaterally in taxing a global business, “with scant regard to international visitors who also have to pay this extortionate tax”.
Keller said: “With Amsterdam and Frankfurt expanding their airport capacity, as well as imposing considerably reduced or zero-rated air passenger tax, these European airports are becoming more attractive as business hubs for connecting flights, as well as tourist destinations.
“The Chancellor’s decision to go ahead with increases from April 2013 will further damage the UK’s competitiveness and drive more business away from the UK.”
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