Speculation is mounting that Chancellor George Osborne (pictured) is to cut Air Passenger Duty for children in his autumn statement.
North West Leicestershire Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said he was confident that a campaign to scrap APD for youngsters under the age of 12 would appear in the chancellor’s statement on Wednesday.
Campaigners claim abolishing the tax would help families who face a hike in the cost of flying during school holidays, while costing the Treasury just £50 million.
The levy adds £52 to the cost of a holiday to Spain for a family of four, or £276 for long-haul trips.
Bridgen proposed the idea at a Conservative party away day last month, when MPs were asked to put forward suggestions for the autumn statement, the Times reported.
It was backed by David Cameron, who is understood to have responded: “I really like this one – I have three children under ten myself.”
Writing on political news website PoliticsHome, Bridgen said it was unfair to charge children the same amount of tax as adults, saying it was “a well-established principle that children are exempt from taxation, for example VAT on food and clothing”.
“Scrapping APD on family flights would give hardworking families the break they deserve,” he said. “APD is a tax on the passenger, not on the aviation industry, so the benefit of scrapping the tax will be directly felt by families.”
The “Scrap the Tax on Family Flights” campaign has cross-party support in the Commons and is backed by more than 30 travel companies, including Virgin Atlantic.
The airline’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, condemned the levy for making the UK “less competitive, discouraging investment and growth”.
APD now generates more revenue for the Treasury than inheritance tax. The Treasury declined to comment on whether measures to cut APD would be included in the autumn statement.
Meanwhile, easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said the Scottish government could provide an important boost by axing APD if control of the tax is devolved to Scotland as recommended by the Smith Commission.
“I think the Scottish Government has made it very clear that if they had the power they would cut APD because they know how important air travel is to Scottish consumers and we would applaud that,” she said on a visit to Edinburgh to meet investors.
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