Dear Chancellor of the Exchequer,
I am contacting you to express my concerns about the impact of UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) on the cost of air travel. I am supporting A Fair Tax on Flying campaign because this tax is now too high and is pricing the UK out of the market.
The UK now has the highest air passenger tax in the world, and is one of only six European countries that tax international air passengers. UK rates are twice the level of the next most expensive tax (levied in Germany). A family of four flying in Economy class between the UK and the United States, for example, pays £260 in APD tax, whereas in France the equivalent tax is only £38. For all those countries further away, then the tax becomes even more punitive. These big differences are difficult for overseas travellers like me to ignore when deciding where to travel, and when other countries are so much cheaper.
I understand it is your stated aim to make the UK one of the most competitive tax regimes in the world. I am not certain how levying the world's highest air tax helps achieve this aim and suspect that it is damaging your inbound tourism industry. Additionally, it certainly places a greater cost burden on business travel. The tax you take when I purchase my ticket means either I have less money to spend during my visit, or I decide to go elsewhere.
Other European countries, including Holland, Denmark and Belgium, have scrapped their APD because of the impact it was having on their economy.
A Fair Tax on Flying is calling for you to undertake research to determine the impact of APD on the UK economy. I hope you'll consider the concerns of overseas visitors as part of any review. I very much look forward to hearing from you.