Leeds-Bradford Airport says taxes will be 'punitive and damaging’ (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Leeds-Bradford Airport says taxes will be 'punitive and damaging’
Plans to increase “punitive and damaging” taxes on airport passengers could hurt the region’s economy by discouraging business travellers and tourists, an airport chief has warned.
Leeds-Bradford International Airport marketing director Tony Hallwood has warned while other European countries were abolishing or reducing Air Passenger Duty, the British Government had announced in the April Budget that it was to be increased.
He said the increase could damage the region’s economy, at a time when it needed to attract more visitors.
The warning came as the campaign group A Fair Tax on Flying announced 10,000 e-mails had been sent to MPs from constituents across the UK opposing the UK’s levels of APD, which the Government announced was to increase by eight per cent.
Mr Hallwood said: “Let’s just put it into context. Aviation and Leeds- Bradford International Airport makes a critical contribution to the regional economy and sustains a couple of thousand jobs.
“So anything that actually impacts on people’s ability to fly competitively could have consequences, not just on business, but on the level of jobs the aviation industry holds and in the present time we have the highest aviation duty in the world, in the UK.”
Mr Hallwood, who said the airport and its business partners employed 2,700 people, said other European countries had withdrawn or reduced the tax on the back of declining numbers of visitors.
He said: “The Dutch and the Germans have actually accepted that the high rate of aviation tax that they have had in their economy – they have either withdrawn it or reduced the tax. We believe that a further rate in aviation, and to all intents and purposes the Government has indicated it will double the rate in 2012, this taxation, to be fair, could depress the number of business travellers and tourists coming to Leeds, just at the time when we need more visiting and holiday-makers spending money in our regional economy.
“We believe that this is a punitive and damaging tax and what we should be doing is ensuring air travel is a tool for economic growth.
“We are not in line with other European economies.”
The campaign by A Fair Tax On Flying asks MPs to call for new Treasury research “to determine the impact of APD on UK holiday-makers, employment and economic growth”.