A sham and a waste of money

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Those were the words used by airline executives over the Treasury announcement that there would be no change in how Air Passenger Duty was levied. As far as the holidaymaker was concerned the consultation changed nothing. Everything was rejected by the mandarins, and the ministers.
Have you ever noticed that when officialdom is involved they can’t say “no” in just one word? Today the UK Treasury has issued a 31 page document to say just that?
You will remember that there has been criticism of the tax generally; that it discriminated against Caribbean countries and that developing countries would be hit hard. Not to mention us poor holidaymakers.
Five hundred responses were sent to the consultation including comment from governments like Australia, Thailand and the US as well as travel companies and individuals. Last week we wrote that the government had decided to continue with the APD increases due next year and this document today shows they might have listened but money speaks louder than logic. All of the pressure groups like handsofourholiday and the Journal’s campaign in Newcastle have been ignored.
When the increased charges come in on April Fools’ Day (what better day could the government choose?) you will pay £13 each way to fly, for example, from a London airport to a Scottish one. I can go by train or coach cheaper than the tax let alone the fare if I pick the times carefully! And if I go to Thailand which is screaming out for more tourists after the downturn due to the floods, I will be paying £92 tax to get there.
Northern Ireland already benefits due to a drop in APD because of the ease with which residents can cross into the Republic of Ireland. The rest of us are discriminated against. Our option to avoid the tax when we go abroad is either rail or ferries. How will those fares be priced next year?
But as we have written in CD-Traveller before, the government will take no notice of anyone because this tax raises so much and is easily collectable. The top men in the travel companies and airlines will have known that. Only when it can be proven that the tax will cost more than it brings in (and that isn’t going to happen with the Jubilee and the Olympics on next year) will the government listen. In the meantime they want to have their cake and eat it. In 2013 when tourism to the UK drops because people will go elsewhere rather than pay our taxes they might rethink. But by then they will have banked at least £6 billion in just two years
And don’t forget we also get walloped next year by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. No wonder the industry is moaning. When the impact is fully felt staycations might have another good year!

image courtesy of Hands off Our Holiday

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