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SCC CALL FOR DEVOLUTION OF AIR PASSENGER DUTY

[ 08-11-2011 ]

Scotland must secure powers over Air Passenger Duty (APD) as part of the Scotland Bill settlement if we are to boost our connectivity and provide a major benefit to our tourist industry.  That was the message delivered today by Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Garry Clark, at the Scotland Bill Conference hosted by Holyrood Communications.  Speaking after the conference, Garry Clark said: 

 
“The absence of Air Passenger Duty from the list of taxes to be devolved through the Scotland Bill is a major omission and one which must be remedied sooner rather than later.  In recent years, we have seen successive increases in the rates of Air Passenger Duty and with travel to and from Scotland so heavily reliant on air services, this has increased costs substantially for Scots and visitors to our country alike. 
 
“We believe that the devolution of Air Passenger Duty would allow the Scottish Government to develop a new air transport policy for Scotland bringing together lower levels of taxation with a new air route marketing fund for the purpose of increasing the number of direct air services to and from Scottish airports.  Revenues raised from APD could be harnessed and reinvested within the aviation industry to ensure that Scotland increases its global connectivity.  Increasing Scotland’s accessibility would also deliver real benefits to our tourist industry, which has the capacity to grow substantially, creating tens of thousands of new jobs. 
 
“Whist most of the debate around devolution of new taxes has focused around the large revenue generators of income tax and corporation tax, it is important for the UK Government to recognise that devolution of a relatively small tax such as APD could deliver a significant economic return in Scotland.  Since the UK Government have already indicated that this will be devolved to Northern Ireland, it is clear that Scotland must be given more powers too, allowing the Scottish Government to put plans in place to take advantage of this much needed new power.”

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