MPs urge government to cut ‘absurd’ APD

By Andy Hoskins, published 6/9/19

A cross-party group of backbench MPs is urging the government to slash Air Passenger Duty (APD) in order to boost the economy after Brexit.

Released this week, the report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on APD Reform says two-thirds of airlines it surveyed would invest in new routes outside of London and the South East if APD was cut by 50%, while nine out of ten would invest more in existing routes.

APD adds £13 to short-haul tickets and £78 to long-haul economy tickets, rising to £176 on business and first class long-haul fares. It is the highest rate of its kind in Europe and more than twice the fees levied in Germany – the next most expensive fees.

The report concluded, “APD runs counter to many of the government’s stated priorities, including increasing exports and creating jobs; its removal will give Britain’s aviation sector the chance to flourish once more, boosting connectivity and driving economic growth.”

Conservative MP Henry Smith, Chair of the all-party parliamentary group, says: “This report clearly sets out the constraining effect that the UK’s current sky-high rates of Air Passenger Duty has on our global connectivity and economic growth.

“We have the highest aviation taxes in Europe, and this is simply not sustainable and runs counter to the Government’s aims for a truly global Britain.”

Smith continues: “We are calling for the Chancellor to act decisively and remove this barrier to growth by cutting APD by at least 50% to ensure that Britain has a flying start to our post-Brexit future.”

Simon McNamara, Chair of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, welcomed the report saying: “The report clearly shows that APD is holding back our connectivity at the very time that increasing our air links with the world is vital to the government’s post-Brexit international trade ambitions.”