A senior member of the government defended Air Passenger Duty yesterday after coming under sustained attack at a major travel industry conference.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan told the UKinbound convention in Leicester: “APD raises money. As education secretary I like having money to spend on schools.”
Ryanair sales and marketing manager Maria Macken told Morgan: “If you get rid of the tax, the extra yield will offset the loss of [Treasury] revenue.”
UKinbound chairman Mark McVay said: “The UK is at a competitive disadvantage. Isn’t it about time we abolished this tax?”
But Morgan, who worked at the Treasury before heading the education department, said: “There are people who model this all the time and we have yet to see a compelling overall case [for abolishing APD].”
She added: “We have managed to keep the cost of APD on short haul flights down since 2010.
“We have made some changes, scrapping APD for children under 16, and I oversaw a move to two APD bands.” She said: “There do have to be costs.”
Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe, a member of parliament’s select committee on culture and tourism, told the inbound industry association convention: “We should get rid of APD.
“It has to be addressed by the incoming chancellor as it puts us at a competitive disadvantage.
“The trouble is it is good revenue for the Treasury.”
Google head of travel and Conservative parliamentary candidate Nigel Huddleston told Morgan: “A family of four from China can spend £650 on APD before they even enter the country.”
Morgan told him: “I look forward to seeing you lobby the Chancellor in Parliament.”
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