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An Open Letter to the Chancellor - A Fair Tax On Flying
An Open Letter to the Chancellor

Britain Open for Business:
The case for reducing APD in the UK

Dear Chancellor,

UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) is by far the highest tax of its kind in Europe and is one of the highest rates across the world. The Government has rightly recognised the opportunity Brexit provides to show that Britain is open for business with the world – and you should use this month’s Autumn Statement to act on this promise by reducing the excessive tax on air travel in our country and thereby increasing our global competitiveness.

Currently APD in the UK is double that of Germany, which is the next highest in Europe, and three times that of France. In a nation to which 72% of visitors access by air, maintaining an excessively high rate of APD prevents us from reaching our full economic potential. It is an outdated tax which has increased by over 824% since its introduction in 1994 and puts the UK at a disadvantage compared to other trading nations.

Setting a more competitive rate of APD as we enter international trade negotiations is crucial to achieving the growth that will sustain and boost our economy in the years to come. Halving APD would bring the UK in line with Germany and thus also help level the playing field in Europe.

The Republic of Ireland abolished its APD equivalent in 2014 and recorded an immediate positive impact both in the number of passengers travelling to and from airports and on the wider economy, including a 13% increase in tourism in 2015. According to Dublin Airport, the number of Northern Ireland residents travelling through the airport increased by 52% in the first year after the tax was scrapped.

You recently committed to “ensuring Britain after Brexit will remain one of the best places in the world for a business to invest, to innovate and to grow”. APD is a barrier to these aspirations and economic analysis by PwC has found that abolishing APD would boost UK GDP by 1.7% and create 61,000 new jobs by 2020.

You should seize the opportunity of the forthcoming Autumn Statement to commit to at least halving APD across the whole country, thereby sending a clear message to the world that the UK is open for business.

Yours sincerely,

Grant Shapps MP
Andrew Bridgen MP
Henry Smith MP
Pauline Latham MP

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