West MPs get the message on flight tax

Over 1,200 constituents support calls for A Fair Tax on Flying.

2012-08-16 — /travelprnews.com/ — West of England MPs have received over 1,200 emails from constituents calling for the UK’s flight tax – currently the highest in the world – to be cut, according to figures from a campaign backed by the leading names in the UK travel and tourism industry, including Bristol Airport.

Top of the list in the West is Dr Liam Fox, MP for North Somerset, the constituency in which Bristol Airport is located. Dr Fox has so far received over 200 messages calling for action on Air Passenger Duty (APD). Charlotte Leslie (Bristol North West), Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South), Stephen Williams (Bristol West), Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke), Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset) and John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare) all had over a hundred messages on the subject in their inboxes.

Close to 100,000 people nationwide have backed the campaign for A Fair Tax on Flying. APD is over 8.5 times the European average and twice the amount levied in Germany – the second most expensive rate in Europe behind the UK. A family of four flying in Economy class from the UK to the United States pays £260 in APD, whereas in France the equivalent tax is only £38. On European flights, a British family pays twelve times as much tax as their French counterparts.

The campaign seeks to highlight the unfairness of this tax, which falls on hard-working families looking to get a way for well-earned break. APD also makes it more expensive for tourists to visit the UK, deters inward investment and increases costs for businesses operating in overseas markets. The British Chambers of Commerce says that year-on-year increases in APD could curtail economic growth by £1 billion by 2015.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:
“While most other European countries have reduced or scrapped their flight tax, British passengers face ever increasing costs when travelling on business or taking a well earned holiday, and inbound visitors are also affected. We have just enjoyed the most successful Olympics in living memory, but unfortunately all those athletes and spectators who helped make it so memorable will have faced a huge tax bill when flying home. This threatens our ability to capitalise on the goodwill and global profile generated by the Games.”

“The success of the campaign demonstrates that this is not just an aviation industry issue, but a real concern for the travelling public in the West of England. I hope MPs across the region will take action, starting by signing a parliamentary motion (Early Day Motion 174) expressing concern about APD’s financial impact on ordinary families and their ability to fly, and calling on HM Treasury to commission a comprehensive study into the full economic effects of aviation tax in the UK.”