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NEWS Last modified on March 10, 2016

UK MPs back proposals to slash Air Passenger Duty if Scots reduce tax – new suvey

Britain's Airport Operators Association (AOA) claims that least 60% of MPs would support proposals to follow Scotland and reduce the UK's unpopular Air Passenger Duty (APD) by 50% if the Scottish Government goes ahead and cuts the hugely unpopular tax.

AOA, the trade association representing over 50 UK airports, bases its claim on the result of a new ComRes poll.

According to the poll, a quarter of MPs surveyed strongly support this policy proposal (26%), and a majority of MPs from the Conservative (64%) and Labour (59%) parties express their support.

At least half of MPs from all UK regions are supportive.

The AOA has this week written to the Chancellor urging him to use the Budget to respond to the Treasury’s discussion paper on APD so as to provide certainty to UK airports, and the aviation and travel industry more generally.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the AOA, said: “The Airport Operators Association agrees with the Scottish Government’s assertion that that overall rate of APD should be reduced as soon as possible, and we understand its reasoning for wanting to reduce the tax by 50%, with a view to abolishing it when economic conditions allow.

"As a membership organisation that represents airports in every part of the UK, however, we are understandably concerned about the impact that such a move will have on all of our members in all parts of the country.

"It absolutely cannot be right or fair for one part of the UK to be able to offer a substantially lower rate of APD compared to other areas of the country.

“It has now been well over six months since the government published its discussion paper on APD, and as an industry we responded to it diligently and in good faith.

"We now need the Chancellor to set out his emerging thinking so that everyone – airports, airlines and customers – can start to plan for the future with a degree of certainty.

"The Scottish Government could not have been clearer that it plans to start reducing APD by 50% in 2018. The time has come for the Treasury to tell us how they will respond to this move.”

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