All members of Holyrood's Finance Committee, apart from Green MSP Patrick Harvie, have endorsed the “general principles” of the SNP Government's proposal to cut Air Passenger Duty. The Committee has now asked ministers to provide evidence of the economic, social, environmental and financial impact of cutting the newly-devolved tax by 50% by the end of the current Parliament before eventually abolishing it.
The reduction in the levy will begin when a Scottish replacement to air passenger duty (APD) is introduced in April 2018 through the Air Departure Tax (ADT) Bill.
Committee Convener Bruce Crawford said:
“The Finance Committee recognises that the Air Departure Tax Bill is an enabling Bill.
“Nevertheless, the committee considers it essential that evidence of exemptions to the tax and on the economic, social, financial and environmental impacts that will result from a 50% reduction in ADT. This must be made available in good time to allow for parliamentary scrutiny.”
Kenneth Gibson added:
“I am delighted that the proposed Bill has such strong, if cautious, support at this stage. Air Passenger Duty is a burden both on passengers and the Scottish economy, with fewer routes as a result and Scots having to travel to many destinations from Manchester, Heathrow or Gatwick.
“Repatriation of routes and new ones will create thousands of jobs here in Scotland, whilst reducing the cost and inconvenience of travelling elsewhere in the UK to catch flights.”
If the legislation is passed, the first rates and bands for the tax are likely to be considered by MSPs in the autumn.