Cam­paign group backs fre­quent flyer tax plan

Hopes levy will elim­i­nate need for an ex­tra run­way

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­

Uxbridge Gazette, Stoke Mill, Wok­ing Road, Guild­ford GU1 1QA

ed­i­to­ri­aluxbridge@ trin­i­ FRE­QUENT air pas­sen­gers would be forced to cough up more in taxes un­der a scheme sup­port­ers claim would elim­i­nate the need for a new run­way at Heathrow or Gatwick.

A ‘fre­quent fly­ers levy’ would re­place air pas­sen­ger duty un­der new pro­pos­als backed by groups in­clud­ing the New Eco­nom­ics Foun­da­tion, Green­peace and Friends of the Earth.

Each per­son would get one tax-free flight per year, they sug­gest, with the duty payable ris­ing with each ad­di­tional jour­ney they take.

The idea has the back­ing of HACAN, the an­tiHeathrow ex­pan­sion cam­paign group, which claims it would be fairer on the 52% of Bri­tons who did not take a sin­gle flight last year and the 22% who took just one.

HACAN claims less than 15% of peo­ple na­tion­ally took three or more flights last year, most of whom it says were wealthy Lon­don­ers or peo­ple from the Home Coun­ties head­ing to tourist des­ti­na­tions rather than on busi­ness trips.

HACAN chair­man John Stewart said: “The beauty of this pro­posal is that it ticks both the eq­uity and green boxes. It is a way of con­trol­ling the growth of avi­a­tion but still al­low­ing or­di­nary fam­i­lies a hol­i­day in the sun.”

Ac­cord­ing to HACAN, a sur­vey by the Public In­ter­est Re­search Cen­tre found more than half of peo­ple pre­ferred the idea of a fre­quent fly­ers levy to air pas­sen­ger duty.

The pro­posal, which also has the sup­port of the Tax Jus­tice Net­work and the Cam­paign for Bet­ter Trans­port, among other or­gan­i­sa­tions, was an­nounced last week.

The Air­ports Com­mis­sion, which is weigh­ing up ri­val bids for a sec­ond run­way at Gatwick or a third one at Heathrow, is ex­pected to make its fi­nal rec­om­men­da­tion im­mi­nently.

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