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Nobody adores taxes, but this one is universally hated in a way that makes others seemed loved. But it’s hard to give up a tax that brings in nearly £4 billion a year.
Ministers have received more than 12,000 complaints from constituents opposing today’s hike in air passenger duty (APD), although the Government still opted to push through the rise.
The tax hike means that from today, a family of four flying economy to Florida will pay £268 in air taxes. The duty has soared since its introduction in 1994, when each passenger faced a £5 tax to fly within the EU, or £10 elsewhere.
Research by the campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying, whose members include the London Chamber of Commerce, Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel, found that 21 cabinet ministers received 12,663 complaints from constituents calling on the Government to undertake an urgent review of the tax. A further 200,000 wrote to their MPs last year calling for the Treasury to examine its economic impacts.
Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, said: “The Government has hit hard-working families where it hurts with many families having to pay hundreds of pounds in air passenger taxes on their annual getaway.” He added that the clear evidence shows that it damages the economy”.
European countries including Belgium, Holland and Denmark have abandoned aviation taxes, but the Government expects to collect £3.9bn in APD revenues each year by 2016.