There have been straws in the wind and now there is a concerted campaign to abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) – see http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/ (sorry you’ll have to copy and paste – we don’t want to help them too much!)The campaign is backed by Manchester Airport Group (with majority stakes from the councils in Greater Manchester), and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, although so far there has been little support from other North West businesses. We are launching a counter-campaign – see below and please lend your support.
Let’s just go over the facts again:
As we noted in our In Place of Growth report: “[Total carbon footprint due to] ‘personal flights’ accounts for 11.19% of Greater Manchester’s emissions (and 15.18% of Manchester’s), the aviation sector only accounts for 1.3% of the economy (measured by GVA, a local variant of GDP) and this is growing rapidly (3% in 2011)”. Heavily disproportionate then: a big ecological cost with relatively little benefit. Indeed, Manchester City Council’s budget papers reveal that the city only gets £4.5M per year income from the airport. That’s lot of money to you and me, but it’s less than one per cent of the city’s budgetary requirement.
Aviation is already highly subsidised. There is no VAT on domestic flights. There is no VAT on flights originating in the EU. There is typically no VAT/sales tax on other international flights. There is no tax on aviation fuel. We don’t know what other hidden subsidies there are for infrastructure costs, not to mention the social costs from noise and congestion. So APD is pretty much the only tax on aviation. This campaign is therefore arguing for tax free flying – things must be desperate!
The campaign makes much of a speculative report from Price Waterhouse Cooper accountancy firm. They say that reducing or abolishing APD would result in a significant increase in the UK’s Gross Domestic Product. It will come as no surprise to readers of the SSM blog that we don’t see this as a good thing. We do need to rebalance and rebuild local economies, but GDP doesn’t measure progress on this, and it prioritises the wrong kind of investment where money leaches out of our localities and region, facilitated in this case by aviation.
What can you do?
Sign the petition I’ve started HERE
Write to your MP asking them to oppose such a move and campaign for properly designed carbon taxes and carbon emissions caps. You can see which MPs have supported the campaign at http://www.afairtaxonflying.org/business/ and scroll down to the list of MPs – so far there isn’t much support from NW MPs.
Write to your councillor asking them to disassociate themselves from Manchester Airport Group’s involvement in the campaign.
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