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A Fair Tax on Flying welcome appointment of Grant Shapps MP as Transport Secretary - A Fair Tax On Flying
A Fair Tax on Flying welcome appointment of Grant Shapps MP as Transport Secretary

We have today (26th July) welcomed the appointment of Grant Shapps MP as Transport Secretary.

The campaign, who worked closely with the new Transport Secretary over the last three years to push for a cut in air passenger duty have written to congratulate Mr Shapps on his appointment.

The full text of the letter to the Transport Secretary is below:

Dear Grant,

We would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Transport Secretary and to thank you for your support for our campaign through your previous role as Chair of the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) and APPG on General Aviation. In your new role, we would urge you to work with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut air passenger duty (APD) by at least 50% in the upcoming budget. As the 2016 BIG report into Air Passenger Duty made clear, APD acts directly against a policy of extending UK business links to the “farthest reaches of the globe”.

As you know, having the highest tax of its kind in Europe, and among the very highest in the world makes no economic or political sense, particularly with Brexit highlighting the need to develop new trade links globally. High levels of APD restrict the UK’s economic growth and international competitiveness, damage trade and business and make leisure travel more expensive, both for visitors to Britain and UK families taking their hard-earned annual holidays.

From an economic perspective, current levels of APD make us uncompetitive with comparable economies. For example, UK APD is twice the level of the equivalent tax in Germany. This has consequences: as independent research commissioned by European airport trade association ACI EUROPE demonstrates, our direct connectivity fell again this year by 0.8% following on from a report in 2018 that showed that we were the only major European nation to see a decline in direct connectivity that year.

APD is effectively a ‘tax on trade’ as flying is the only viable route for investors and business people to approach and service existing and potential new markets. We support the Government’s aim of a global Britain and have a vital role to play in demonstrating that that the United Kingdom is ‘open for business’. A decisive cut in APD of at least 50% would serve that purpose. Such a cut would create a level playing with Germany, who charge the next highest tax in the EU, and would show we mean business when we say we want “to lengthen this country’s lead as the number one destination in this continent for overseas investment”, as the Prime Minister said in his first speech in Downing Street.

As I am sure you will agree, aviation will play a crucial role in supporting the Government’s post-Brexit trading relationships. We are committed to supporting these aims but are currently prevented from increasing our direct connectivity owing to the disproportionate level of aviation taxes. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to use your upcoming budget to boost the UK by cutting APD by at least 50%.

Yours sincerely,
A Fair Tax on Flying

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