Scottish government to start APD consultation

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Scottish government to start APD consultation

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The Scottish government is to start consultation on plans to halve Air Passenger Duty on flights from airports in Scotland.

Control of the tax is due to be devolved to Holyrood when the Scotland Bill becomes law.

SNP ministers have said they will cut the duty by 50% between April 2018 and 2021, if they win the Holyrood election on May 5.

Labour has said a reduction would most benefit wealthier people and should not go ahead.

Full details of the consultation are due to be announced by finance secretary John Swinney during a visit to Edinburgh airport.

The reduction is due to start when a Scottish replacement to APD is introduced in April 2018, and will be delivered in full by the end of the next Scottish parliament, which is expected to be in 2021.

Ministers hope that reducing - and eventually abolishing - APD will increase direct flights to and from Scotland.

Speaking ahead of Swinney's announcement, infrastructure secretary Keith Brown told BBC Scotland that APD was "currently the highest tax of its kind in the world".

He added: "We think it is choking off economic activity in Scotland. That is why we have taken this decision, and that is why we want to find out the views of different stakeholders.

"This will be a benefit to airports, to airlines, and it will be a benefit to passengers and a benefit to the wider economy in Scotland."

Labour has said it would maintain APD in Scotland and use proceeds from it to help first time homebuyers save for a deposit.

Airports in England have warned that they would be left at a huge competitive disadvantage by an APD cut in Scotland.

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