MSPs back air tax reduction plan but call for more info

Edinburgh Airport. Picture: TSPL
Edinburgh Airport. Picture: TSPL
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Plans to cut air tax have been backed at Holyrood.

All but one member of Holyrood’s Finance Committee endorsed the general principles of the proposal in a parliamentary report but said the absence of supporting evidence had “the potential to undermine scrutiny” of the policy.

MSPs have called on ministers to provide evidence of the economic, social, environmental and financial impact of cutting the newly-devolved tax by 50 per cent 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.

The committee said MSPs would have to be provided with further supporting information before being asked to set the tax rates and bands for the levy.

MSPs have also urged Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to commission an independent economic impact analysis of reducing the tax. Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie was the only member of the committee not to support the general principles of the bill. The legislation is now likely to be debated by the full parliament after Easter. If passed, the first rates and bands for the tax are likely to be considered by MSPs after the summer recess.