'Take APD campaign to MPs', says industry coalition

'Take APD campaign to MPs', says industry coalition

The industry coalition A Fair Tax on Flying has launched its biggest campaign to date as it seeks to persuade 100,000 people to write to their MPs demanding action on Air Passenger Duty (APD).

The campaign launched today with A Fair Tax on Flying urging industry members to contact MPs to demand they back a call for the Treasury to study the full impact of APD.

The coalition, comprising more than 30 airlines, airports, tour operators and trade bodies including Abta, then wants the campaign extended to customers.

It has made the job easy by launching a website afairtaxonflying.org which generates a letter to the local MP from anyone who enters their postcode.

Campaign organisers aim to attract 100,000 supporters over the course of the summer. They say putting your name to the campaign takes just 15 seconds.

You just click on the link, enter your postcode and a letter appears to your local MP. Fill in your name and email address, add a comment if you wish and press ‘submit’.

The letter states: “I would like to express my opposition to the unacceptable level of APD - the highest air passenger tax in the world.”

It asks: “Why should I pay so much more than someone in France or any other country in Europe?” and “Do you share my concern that APD might be hindering growth [in the economy] rather than supporting it?”

The letter concludes: “I ask that you write to the Chancellor to request that the Treasury undertakes research to determine the impact of APD on UK holidaymakers, employment and economic growth.”

Simon Buck, chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said: “I urge everyone who believes the tax on flying is too high to do something.

“Send the website link to your friends, Tweet about it and let’s spread the campaign to ensure as many people as possible support us in making our case to the government.”

Campaign members are convinced a full study of APD’s impact will undermine the Treasury’s insistence on such a high rate of tax.

Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard said: “Higher and higher taxes make well-earned holidays more expensive and British goods and services more costly than our competitors’.

“At a time when the country needs more jobs and growth, APD makes economic recovery harder not easier.

“If the government is serious about growth, it should commission a study into the impacts of this tax on our economy. We are confident a report would show this tax is damaging growth.”

The campaign has been in development since the Budget in April when the Chancellor confirmed an 8% rise in APD.

A ComRes poll in 2011 found APD rated among the UK’s most-hated ‘stealth taxes’, behind VAT and fuel duty.

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) estimates a family flying from the UK in economy class now pays, on average, 3.75 times more tax than if they made the trip from elsewhere in Europe.

AOA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “The goal of our campaign is to secure the support of 100,000.

“We encourage anyone who believes APD is too high to visit the website and spend a few seconds writing to their MP. It is imperative the travelling public makes its voice heard.”

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