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Proposed Increase to Airline Passenger Duty

Published 3rd May 2012 by Rebecca Walker

We are pleased to be participating in the consultation regarding the proposed increase in Airline Passenger Duty (APD). Any measures which detract from economic growth, add additional costs to business or adversely affect an export-led recovery are completely unacceptable.

The Government has made clear its intention to rebalance the economy towards manufacturing and to address the ever-widening North/South divide. It is therefore extremely important that additional support should be given to regional airports outside the wealthy and overcrowded Heathrow/Gatwick/Stansted corridors in the SE of the Country. Transport connectivity is of paramount importance to business because its high speed can drastically reduce journey times and save companies costly employee time spent away from the business.

For these reasons, we cannot support any proposal to increase APD. On the contrary, there are very strong arguments that the present levels of APD are already much too high and are counter-productive and inconsistent with the Coalition's ambition for an export-led growth in the UK economy. Indeed, a growing number of European countries are abolishing or reducing APD because they recognise it as a threat to economic growth.

The Government White Paper ’Trade and Investment for Growth’ highlights the Government’s desire to support UK organisations so that they can export effectively and remain economically competitive in the years ahead. Connectivity and air transport are essential elements of this strategy for companies engaging in export, developing new global strategies and seeking to develop new overseas markets for their goods and services. Clearly, any proposed increase in APD would be entirely inconsistent with these other ambitious Government plans for the economy.

Any measures which detract from economic growth, add additional costs to business or adversely affect an export-led recovery are completely unacceptable.

Furthermore, we urge the Government to consider introducing differentials in APD. which will favour our regional airport network (particularly Leeds Bradford Airport in our case) at the expense of the airports around the Capital as a means of re-balancing the economy and easing congestion in the airways over the SE of the Country.

Since part of the rationalisation for existing APDs is carbon reduction in aviation, it would be particularly useful to see the revenues from APDs being returned to the aviation industry in return for the great strides which have already been made in recent years with the development of highly-efficient clean-burn jet engine technology, which is already hitting the targets for reduced emissions. Money raised in this manner could then be used for much-needed infrastructure, access and terminal developments of our regional airports. 

Steven Leigh, Head of Policy and Representation at Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

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