Air supply

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One matter largely overlooked in the Westminster Budget, and tucked away in the fine print, was a planned rise in Air Passenger Duty (APD), the last thing Scotland needs.

Despite Chancellor George Osborne failing to mention his plans for a tax increase on flights during his Budget speech, the accompanying documents make clear that the Westminster Government will press ahead with a hike in APD from 1 April at the highest rate of inflation, for the next two years.

The UK, it should be noted, is currently ranked 134th out of 138 countries by the World Economic Forum in terms of competitive aviation taxes and airport charges, ahead of only Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Chad.

This hike in Air Passenger Duty is extremely bad news for Scotland’s airports and the wider economy, deterring foreign visitors from coming to the country and unfairly impacting Scottish families travelling abroad.

In the current economic 
climate we should be doing everything we can to attract airlines to Scottish airports so that we can secure the full economic benefits that good air connections bring with them.

These actions by the Chancellor simply highlight the emptiness of rhetoric on looking to boost exports to emerging economies and build the most competitive tax system in the world.

Alex Orr

Edinburgh

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