A Fair Tax on Flying has revealed that 44 MPs are backing its campaign for a reduction in Air Passenger Duty (APD). The alliance of over 30 carriers and tour operators is urging MPs to support parliamentary a motion that voices concern about how APD effects ordinary families and their ability to travel by air. The motion also calls for new research into the overall impact of the levy on the economy.
Conservative Party 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady, one of the MPs supporting the parliamentary motion, says that the UK has the highest air passenger tax in the world. This is harming the competitiveness of the nation, as well as adding costs to millions of people’s lifestyles. He hopes the Treasury will be convinced to look at the impact of this damaging levy again, he added.
The campaign is also being backed by the Taxpayer’s Alliance and Institute of Directors. Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, says air passenger taxes in the UK are the highest in the world, which is harming the economy in several ways. All the hard work put into building tourism and inward investment is being hindered by this unfair levy, he added.
This comes as new stats from the Airport Operators Association (AOA) show that a family of four flying in economy class from the UK this year will pay nearly an average 400% more in tax than if they made the trip from another European country that imposes an air passenger tax. The 8% APD hike in April meant that a family of four flying to Europe has to pay an extra £52. This increases to £260 for families travelling to Egypt or the US; £324 to South Africa or the Caribbean; and £368 to Australia or Argentina. Passengers flying in first-class, business-class or premium-economy have to pay double.
In June, A Fair Tax on Flying launched a website to help ordinary passengers express their opposition to the tax. Visitors to the website have to enter their name, postcode and email address. Then a template email is automatically sent to their local MP. The campaign aims to win 100,000 people’s support, and it already has over 10,000.
The email says that only five European nations tax passengers when flying abroad, and rates in the UK are twice the most expensive of these, which is in Germany. Additionally, the Treasury collected over twice as much in passenger taxes last year than all five of these countries combined. Several other European nations have axed APD due to the impact it was having on families and the broader economy. The email then requests that the MP contact the Chancellor to request the Treasury researches the matter to determine the impact on UK travellers, employment and the growth of the economy.
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) chief executive Mark Tanzer says about 700 people are writing an email to their MP every day. This is testament to the growing opposition to APD from ordinary travellers and companies, he added. AOA chief executive Darren Caplan says, that 10,000 people have written to their MPs is just the tip of the iceberg. APD is one of the most despised stealth levies in the UK now, and they hope many more people let their MP know what they think, he added.
British Air Transport Association (BATA) chief executive Simon Buck says that they welcome the activism of so many people on Facebook and Twitter. However, it won’t be until tens of thousands more join A Fair Tax on Flying’s campaign that they can expect the Treasury to begin taking this matter seriously.
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