Cross-Party Group on Aviation vent frustrations over APD response
A Treasury minister will be asked to appear at the Scottish Parliament amid mounting criticism that concerns over Air Passenger Duty (APD) are being ignored.
Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Aviation, Colin Keir MSP, is to issue an invitation after members vented deep-seated frustrations at a meeting in February.
In a written response, which was discussed by senior figures from several leading airlines and Scottish airports, Treasury minister Sajid Javid said a soon- to-be enforced rise in APD rates – charged on all passenger flights from UK airports – is limited to no more than RPI inflation and pointed to other favourable changes within the tax system.
However, the justification failed to appease CPG members with the response prompting collective disappointment, albeit little surprise, in the room. “I will follow the direction of the Cross-Party Group; I will issue an invitation to [the] Treasury to send a representative up, a minister if possible, and we’ll see what happens,” Keir told Holyrood.
“I can’t say whether they will appear or not. What we’re trying to say is that there’s a head of opinion up here that can’t be ignored. Now the power lies, it’s undeniable, the power lies on this down south, it’s not been devolved, and it’s grossly unfair.”
Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his budget next week against a backdrop of widespread calls to abolish the levy, a move PwC has suggested could deliver a 0.45 per cent boost to GDP within 12 months.