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Taxing Ourselves Out of Existence

There has been a string of UK business in recent times that have gone bust. That some of these have not been run as well as they might have been is not in dispute. That some did not adapt to the changing ways in which business is done in today’s world is also not in dispute but there is one common thread running throughout all of them - tax.

More correctly, the absurd and abusively high levels of tax placed upon businesses, from that levied on high street shops to airlines like Flybe.

Whatever one thinks about aviation, there can be no argument that it brings huge benefits to the UK as a whole in every area. Yes, it can, and must, do more to be cleaner and greener – that is a change that is happening. But the amount of taxation in the UK is far higher than elsewhere in the world and in particular, Air Passenger Duty, or APD.

Commenting on the speculation regarding Flybe and the reform of Air Passenger Duty for domestic travel, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, said:

“It’s an anomaly that particularly hurts regional aviation as it’s levied on both legs of a return journey. Irrespective of the Flybe situation we hope the Government will take a closer look at this – and all other elements of our ruinously high and uncompetitive APD – as we need to support our strategically vital regional air connectivity and levying £26 in tax when - in the case of Flybe - the average fare is £52 - is not sustainable when so many other costs on airlines are increasing.

“APD is not and never has been an environmental tax. It has no bearing on the ability of the aviation industry to decarbonise and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This will be achieved via a range of other measures, including airspace modernisation, the development of sustainable aviation fuels, new, cleaner planes, and the UN carbon offsetting scheme CORSIA, which captures growth in all emissions from international aviation and will mitigate around 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2035.”

Mr Alderslade is correct in is assertion that APD is indeed ‘ruinous’. It is time that this tax on travel, on business, and on the lifeline that aviation provides is either reduced substantially or better yet, removed entirely.

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