Today the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in his Budget that the Government will be radically reforming Air Passenger Duty (APD).
APD is a levy imposed on all travellers flying from UK airports. You pay more duty for long distance flights than short hops which, on the face of it, sounds entirely reasonable (the further you fly, the more environmental damage you do). But in reality the way in which it works is grossly unfair. The level of Duty depends not on the length of the flight but the distance to the capital of the country in question. So you pay less duty if you fly to Los Angeles than if you fly to Jamaica, even though the former is much further from the UK than the latter, because Washington DC is closer to the UK than Jamaica. Bizarre isn’t it?
This policy has had a real impact on many of my constituents, particularly those with family in the Caribbean and south Asia, and is something that I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to change.
From next year, all long haul flights will carry the same, lower band B tax rate that passengers now pay to fly to the United States. I am delighted that the Chancellor has listened and I know many of my constituents will be too.