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Air passenger tax angers travel industry

No Budget waiver

[April 22, 2009]

Air passenger duty

The controversial increase in air passenger duty is still set to go ahead in November, following Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget announcement today.

Despite pleas from the travel industry, the travel tax will rise in November and again in 2010.

Travel agents, airlines, ABTA and other industry associations believe that the Government should scrap the APD in order to help struggling families afford a holiday, boost the travel industry and support the ailing economy.

In response to the budget today, Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said:

“We are very disappointed that the Government has chosen to ignore the travel industry and go ahead with its plans to drastically raise Air Passenger Duty. This unfair tax already costs air travellers from the UK £2 billion and covers its environmental costs. This holiday tax represents a heavy and growing burden on families at a time when they are being forced to reconsider whether they can afford to take a well-earned break.

“As one of the few successful sectors in the UK economy, the Government has targeted the travel industry to plunder, without regard to the damaging impact to jobs.

“We will continue to challenge the increases, and its anomalies. For example, the rise in APD to destinations such as the Caribbean, dependent on tourism, will be as much as 87 per cent, equating to a tax bill of £600 for a family of four travelling to the Caribbean in premium economy in 2010 compared with today’s £160. A survey by one of the UK’s largest tour operators shows that 22 per cent of passengers travelling to the Caribbean with them have a household income of less than £25,000.

Toby Nicol, easyJet’s Communications Director, said: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer has missed the opportunity to give air passengers a much-deserved shot in the arm by refusing to ditch his planned £1 billion raid on the airline industry over the next two years.

"Last year the Chancellor bottled the planned reform of Air Passenger Duty which would have made it a fairer, greener tax and instead simply announced a huge tax raid on hard-working families while continuing to exempt private jets and cargo planes. In today’s Budget he should have waived the planned increases in order to help an industry which will be at the forefront of dragging the economy out of recession, but he bottled that as well.”

Written by: Maxine Clarke

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