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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP have backed a pre-Budget appeal by Scottish Airport bosses who have united in calling for the Chancellor to rethink a planned 10% increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) and give Scottish operators “a fighting chance” to compete against European rivals.

In a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, the managing directors of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports claim the tax hike will leave them at a disadvantage compared to European rivals.

The airport bosses say:  “In Scotland, we have particular concerns about our future ability to attract new airlines.”

They added: “There is a risk that airlines looking to serve new markets will choose other European countries at the expense of Scotland.  This in turn will have a significant impact on employment, business competitiveness and inbound tourism.”

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP called on the UK Government to devolve APD to the Scottish Parliament – as recommended by the Calman Commission – and pointed out that APD powers are already being devolved to Northern Ireland which, last November, benefited from a cut in APD by the Treasury.

Mr MacNeil said:

“The Chancellor must not ignore this warning from Scotland’s airport operators which underlines the impact soaring APD levels are having on the sector and the wider economy.

“The UK Government must step back from a Budget air raid which would hit Scottish passengers and services.

“Air Passenger Duty should be devolved, as it has been for Northern Ireland, so that we can incentivise airlines to provide new direct international routes, providing Scotland’s passengers with enhanced options as they go about their business more freely and more effectively.  It would also provide a substantial boost to the Scottish economy and create jobs.

“Devolution of air passenger duty was one of the Calman Commission’s recommendations so people will be asking why it cannot be devolved now?

“People in Scotland should not be treated like second class passengers by the UK Government.  There is overwhelming evidence for the devolution of APD with all four of Scotland’s largest airports backing the call and Transport Scotland saying there is no good reason why passengers in Scotland should have to continue to travel in such numbers through other UK airports or should not benefit from levels of connectivity enjoyed in other parts of the UK.

“This is a test for the UK Government in terms of the Prime Minister’s offer of more powers.  They should allow Scotland to have control over flight taxes, just like Northern Ireland.”

 


Comments  

 
#
Holebender
2012-03-16 07:17

As with so much else, Whitehall only cares about the London airports. They are filled to bursting so obviously there is no need to reduce APD.

It has taken me a long time to educate the (South African) travel agents my employer uses that I don’t have to go via London every time I fly to/from Aberdeen, but it is still an uphill battle. If I don’t specify a preferred route they will still come up with flights via Heathrow even if they are more expensive.
 
 
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Ben Power
2012-03-16 13:44

And there is the reason for making Scots airports more expensive. Funnel everything through southern airports to make more profits down there at the expense of Scotland.
 
 
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Exile
2012-03-16 17:15

Just like they scuppered SAS and KLM’s plans to develop Prestwick as their joint transatlantic hub. Ah, what would Scotland do without the Union dividend?
 

 
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hiorta
2012-03-16 08:14

Independence, political and financial, is the only cure for the Unionist malaise that envelopes and suffocates these Islands and diminishes Scotland.
 
 
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UpSpake
2012-03-16 08:29

Air Passenger Duty – A tax thought up by that most competent of Chancellors – one Gordon Brown, placed first and foremost on small planes flying to the islands of Scotland. His ‘budget for Scotland’ if I recall ?.
APD is a pure tax raising measure, nothing else. The revenue goes straight to the London Treasury for their gain, nothing else. No pretence at being used to off-set whatever green nonsense they are expousing today.
A huge disincentive to travel it sure is and when it was first introduced it cost more to raise it than it brought in. How to correct that ?, simpules !. Keep raising it till the pips squeak, or people find a foreign airport to fly out of to save the tax. Or, offer the airlines the fare and two fingers to the tax ?.
I would like to see Scotland ‘take’ APD as NI has but in our case, scrap the friggin’ thing.
 
 
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Robert Louis
2012-03-16 08:46

Considering the fact that a large part of the Scottish economy is tourism, and that it is effectively an island, with many constituent Island communities, it really beggars belief that we have no control over APD.

With independence, Scotland can adapt taxation policies, such as APD, to help suit the SCOTTISH economy, rather than policies which suit South East England. Tourism is one of our economic powerhouses, and when independent, everything possible should be done to help it on a globally competitive stage, including scrapping APD.

Scottish tourism is one of the jewels in Scotland’s crown, and as things currently stand, the London Government does NOTHING to help it.
 
 
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Ben Power
2012-03-16 13:50

Quoting Robert Louis:

Considering the fact that a large part of the Scottish economy is tourism, and that it is effectively an island, with many constituent Island communities,
Scottish tourism is one of the jewels in Scotland’s crown, and as things currently stand, the London Government does NOTHING to help it.



By hampering Tourism and the return of Diaspora Scots and others to settle and invest westminster would hope to reduce our tourism industry and prevent more incoming Scots from demanding a voice (ie voting) in Scots affairs.

All they want is a docile,apatheti  c and reducing population that consumes and leaves the UK elite to their devices to strip our assets out for profit down south.

 

 
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GraemeB
2012-03-16 09:58

Slightly O/T but still regarding taxes, I see Moore is sticking his oar where it isn’t welcome again and asking pie in the sky questions. According to that bastion of unbiased reporting the BBC-

Mr Moore wants to know what tax rates would be, how much would be spent on public services, and who would regulate the banks.

bbc.co.uk/…/…
 
 
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Robert Louis
2012-03-16 11:24

And of course the answer is, it is none of Westminster’s business what Scotland chooses to do once independent.

Michael Moore clearly still has not got his head around the fact that once independent, the parliament in Westminster will be just a distracting noise. No more, no less.

Perhaps Mr.Moore would spend his days in Westminster more fruitfully taking a good look at what his non economist friend Danny Alexander is planning for the next budget.

Tax cuts for the rich??? That’ll be the Libdems, the prostitutes of british politics. Anything for a wee bit ermine robe, eh, Mr Moore?
 
 
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admiral
2012-03-16 15:36

Quoting GraemeB:

Slightly O/T but still regarding taxes, I see Moore is sticking his oar where it isn’t welcome again and asking pie in the sky questions. According to that bastion of unbiased reporting the BBC-

Mr Moore wants to know what tax rates would be, how much would be spent on public services, and who would regulate the banks.

bbc.co.uk/…/…


Someone should counter with a question asking why the UK Chancellor is making a budget statement next week that only covers one year. Surely if you could forecast what tax rates, interest rates, welfare payments, public sector costs, defence requirements, etc should be years and years in advance, then we should be getting a statement to that effect, anything else is inefficient – it would remove “uncertainty” from business and individuals,too  .

Ask the AIB for their tax and spend plans for the next umpteen years, see if you get an answer.

 

 
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edinburghdave
2012-03-16 16:13

No way will wastemonster give this tax up. It will (rightfully so) make our airports,more competitive than the South. Remember. Its not just the London airports, but Manchester and Newcastle that we are also in competition with.

Personally, I am dreading this upcoming budget. All I have seen is a Chancellor and a tory party backed up by the utterly feeble lib dems protecting the “city” at sll costs. Osbourne doesnt give a damn about how much food costs, how much it costs our elderly to heat thier homes, how much a tank of petrol costs so that those of us still with jobs can get to work. Just so long as all that lovely money keeps flowing into the exchequer to keep his buddies in the ivory towers in thier multi million pound jobs and the UK’s mythical “triple A credit rating”. A device dreamed up by the very institutions who got us all in this mess as a form of blackmail to apply pressure to governmens to make even more money.

Make no mistake. not one single job of ours matters to this evil, disgusting party in control at westminister. The jobless statistics released this week (and conveniently made to disappear very quickly by the government propaganda machine)are proof of that. We are about to see thatcherite levels of unemployment, with Dickenesion levels of inequality.

As nationalists, we MUST hammer home the truth about what matters to the unionist parties. And that is london self interest, As long as the SE of england is ok, no one else matters. This goes through everything in society. From the spare cash in our pockets, our ability to look after our sick and elderly, our learning instituitions for our young to learn in, creating our future, to what we stand for in a global world without WMD. Our general quality of life. This is being driven down by people in a city who have never had to work for the things that we strive for.A wee holiday once a year. A step on the property ladder or whatever.The concept of working hard and saving means nohing to these people. We are but a means to an end.

It must stop. This message MUST be driven home. It is ONLY independance that can free us of the nightmare that is affecting us all just now. We can be better than this.We, as a people ARE better than this every man is an island mentality.

Rant over
 
 
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Exile
2012-03-16 17:26

A very cogent rant, Dave. Thanks for writing it down.
 

 
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alisdair
2012-03-16 19:07

Well said edinburghdave very, very powerful words well spoken!!!
 

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