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Halving air passenger duty will boost Scottish economy

Slashing air passenger duty by 50 percent could provide a £1bn injection to Scotland’s economy by 2020, a newly published report claims

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Analysts estimate that without slashing Scotland's air passenger duty, the country could lose a million passengers a year
Analysts estimate that without slashing Scotland's air passenger duty, the country could lose a million passengers a year 

Holyrood’s promise, as laid out in the Smith Commission, to cut APD could create 3,800 jobs and prompt £200m of annual economic benefits. As of May the duty will no longer apply to under 12s and a complete cut would see an additional 700,000 passengers for Scottish airports in the first year, rising to 900,000 passengers after five years. Ministers have been called to act on these findings and provide a timetable for the tax reduction, to allow for airlines and the tourism industry to plan for the change.

If the duty is not reduced the report predicts that Scotland will lose a million passengers a year

Speaking in a statement, Edinburgh Airport’s Chief Executive, Gordon Dewar said: “We’ve long argued that APD is a tax on Scotland’s ability to compete with European airports of our size, and our economy is footing the bill in lost jobs and lost opportunities. It’s also damaging the ability for our passengers to travel and to take advantage of the amazing connectivity we have from Edinburgh.”

If the duty is not reduced the report predicts that Scotland will lose a million passengers a year. Air tax in the UK is the highest of any major EU country, raising almost £3bn in 2013/2014, and is expected to cost the Scottish economy up to £68m in lost tourism expenditure year-on-year. Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “There is no doubt that APD is acting as a major deterrent to many potential visitors. Few other EU countries levy APD, so this places Scottish tourism at a competitive disadvantage.”

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