APD DEVOLVED TO NORTHERN IRELAND WITHOUT DELAY
SCOTLAND TREATED LIKE SECOND CLASS PASSENGER BY UK
The SNP has called for equality of treatment for Scotland as the Treasury announced that powers over Air Passenger Duty (APD) will be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the Finance Bill 2012.
The announcement comes just three months after the Treasury cut to the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD) for passengers departing from airports in Northern Ireland.
SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP said:
“This is good news for Northern Ireland, but Scotland must have equality of treatment from the Treasury. It only raises further questions about the Prime Minister’s supposed commitment to more powers for Scotland, beyond the current Scotland Bill, that he said were ‘on the table’. Devolution of air passenger duty was one of the Calman Commission’s recommendations so people will be asking why it cannot be devolved now?
“People in Scotland should not be treated like second class passengers by the UK Government. There is overwhelming evidence for the devolution of APD with all four of Scotland’s largest airports backing the call and Transport Scotland saying there is no good reason why passengers in Scotland should have to continue to travel in such numbers through other UK airports or should not benefit from levels of connectivity enjoyed in other parts of the UK.
“Devolution of APD would enable us to incentivise airlines to provide new direct international routes, providing Scotland’s passengers with enhanced options as they go about their business more freely and more effectively. It would also provide a substantial boost to the Scottish economy and create jobs.
“This is a test for the UK Government in terms of the Prime Minister’s offer of more powers. They should allow Scotland to have control over flight taxes, just like Northern Ireland.”
1. On 1 November the rate of APD for direct long-haul passengers flying from Northern Ireland was cut to the short-haul rate – which is currently £12 in economy and £24 in business and first class.
2. The text of the Treasury Written Statement is detailed below:
Devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD) to Northern Ireland
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Chloe Smith): Last September the Government announced measures to support air travel to and from Northern Ireland. From 1 November 2011 APD for passengers travelling on direct long-haul routes departing from airports in Northern Ireland was cut to the lower short-haul rate. To provide a lasting solution, the Government launched a further process to devolve aspects of APD to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Today, I can announce that the power to set APD rates for direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland will be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and provided for in the Finance Bill 2012.
Following devolution, it will be for the Assembly to determine what level of APD will apply to direct long haul flights. The rates set by the Assembly will apply to the carriage of passengers on and from a day to be appointed by order, irrespective of when the ticket for the flight was booked or purchased.