Friday, 18 February 2011

Stevenson Backs Call By Scotland's Airports For Action On Air Passenger Duty

SNP candidate for the new Banffshire & Buchan Coast constituency Stewart Stevenson MSP has condemned actions by Westminster to further increase tax on air travel. A recent study by Scotland’s three major airports noted the significant effect the tax increase would have on passenger numbers, especially at Aberdeen Airport.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson stated:

“This is a remarkably poor decision from Whitehall with little consideration for the effect on business, and access to more remote areas in Scotland.

“The tax increase - coupled with higher charges at Heathrow from BAA south of the border - are almost certain to have a knock on effect on our airport’s ability to keep frequent necessary air links to London, and the rest of the UK. The airport serves as a vital hub for thousands of people travelling to and from Aberdeen each year for work. It is an integral part of the local economy which is bound to suffer as a result of this decision.

“If this tax hike was going to help pay for a fast rail link replacement for the East Coast main line that would extend north of the border, then perhaps it could be justified. I have heard nothing to indicate that. Instead this is likely to hit tourism, and business in the North-east.

“The Calman Commission indicated as part of their proposals that taxation on air travel should be devolved. It is unfortunate that the UK Government has not supported this by including it in the Scotland Bill.”

“I am fully supportive of moves by my SNP colleague Brian Adam MSP, who represents Dyce, to urge the London Government re-think how they apply this tax increase. It is imperative that we have a more accessible airport that is able to support and enable economic growth in the area.”
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