As Scottish Labour gather in Inverness for their spring conference, their MPs at Westminster have landed an embarrassing blow on their leader Johann Lamont by abstaining on an SNP amendment on the unpopular and damaging Air Passenger Duty (APD) which would have seen APD devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Labour have also failed to support the SNP in voting to scrap the hike completely, which bosses of Scotland’s three main airports- Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen- fear could lose as many as two million customers over the next three years.
SNP Transport spokesperson, and MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Angus MacNeil commented:
‘”Labour missed a chance to support their leader’s devolution commission by moving to devolve APD. They failed at the first hurdle.
“Whatever divisions and problems there are between the leader of the Scottish Labour party and her MPs at Westminster they should not take it out on Scottish travellers, businesses and the tourism industry.
“We know that Johann Lamont wants to devolve it – as it has been to Northern Ireland – so why did her MPs not follow her wishes? Airlines , airports and representatives of businesses all over Scotland have voiced their concern on the recent budget hike in APD – the ‘poll tax of the skies’ – but Scottish Labour MPs aren’t listening to them, or it would seem their leader.
“We have seen encouraging figures this week about Scottish employment and growth –because of Scottish Government policies – but only with the full powers of independence can we get rid of Westminster’s punitive taxes. This week Scottish Labour has made that case even stronger.“
Note to Editors:
For recent warnings from the managers of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Airports, see http://news.stv.tv/north/218869-scotlands-airports-fear-that-air-passenger-duty-could-stop-millions-flying/