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ABTA survey reveals 6 in 10 conservative MPs in the UK support a reduction in APD

A new survey published by ABTA has revealed that six in ten Conservative MPs in the United Kingdom believe that a reduction in Air Passenger Duty (APD) could lead to a growth in the economy. The current APD rates are higher than anywhere else and holidaymakers have to pay more for their flights to Caribbean holidays and other long haul destinations since the eight percent rise came into effect in April 2012.

ABTA survey reveals 6 in 10 conservative MPs in the UK support a reduction in APD

The Air Passenger Duty (APD) debate continues across the UK and a new survey published by the Travel Association, ABTA, has revealed that six in ten Conservative MPs in the UK are in favour of reducing APD.

In March this year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that APD would be rising by eight per cent which would significantly affect the amount of tax paid on flights to Caribbean holidays and other long-haul destinations.

The increase fuelled a new campaign called “A Fair Tax on Flying” and over 250,000 emails were sent to MPs from British residents and foreign travellers urging them to review the impact that the increased APD has on UK growth and jobs.

According to the ComRes survey in which 150 MPs participated, 61 per cent of Conservative MPs believe that a reduction could stimulate growth and 57 per cent believe that APD is damaging the UK’s position as a global air travel hub.

 flights to Caribbean holidays
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

Out of all of the 150 MPs asked, 49 per cent of them believe that the existing rates of APD are putting UK businesses at a competitive disadvantage and this could have a serious affect on the number of foreign travellers who book Caribbean flights and air fares to long haul destinations from the UK.

APD is calculated according to how far away the capital of a country is from the United Kingdom. Though Florida and Hawaii are located further from the UK, the country’s capital New York is closer than many Caribbean capital cities, so passengers taking flights to the Caribbean are charged more.

The cost of APD for a family of four flying to destinations such as the United States or Egypt has risen from £240 to £260, and the same family taking holidays in the Caribbean or South Africa now have to pay £324, compared to the previous £300.

“At a time when we are facing one of the toughest ever downturns in history, the Government must take every measure to get the country back on track to growth,” explained The CEO of ABTA, Mark Tanzer.

“The very fact that half of MPs believe current rates of APD are damaging the economy is a clear indication we need a review into the impacts of this tax before it does any further damage. Other governments, such as the Dutch, abolished the tax after a review found that the revenue raised was outweighed by the revenue lost. This summer has also shown there is overwhelming public support for a review so now the Government is back from recess we call on them to listen and act.”

 Caribbean Beach Destinations: Jardines del Rey in Cuba
Image by: worldtraveller5, on Flickr

The Caribbean in particular is concerned about the rising cost of APD and the region heavily relies on tourism to support its economy. If fewer British travellers book holidays in the Caribbean, local companies such as tourist attractions, restaurants, tour operators and Caribbean hotels and resorts could lose vital business and be forced to close down.

The “A Fair Tax on Flying” campaign was launched by the Airports Operators Association and the industry coalition which includes more than 30 airlines, tour operators, airports and organisations.

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