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Published on Monday, October 10, 2011

Osborne 'admits air passengers are cash cows'



Chancellor George Osborne has admitted that air passenger duty is a tax to swell government coffers rather than an environmental initiative.


In a letter leaked to the Daily Mail, the newspaper claims Osborne described the tax as "fundamentally a revenue raising duty". It had labeled by the previous Labour government as a green tax to discourage people from flying.


In the letter, written to director general of the Brussels-based Airport Council International Olivier Jankovec in August, Osborne said APD raised around £2.5bn a year.


He has already signaled a possible rise in the tax for 2012 in his autumn statement next month. However, Osborne says he intends to simplify the current system, which divides the tax into four bands according to the length of flights, on a 'revenue neutral basis'.


Business jets, which are currently excluded from APD, are expected to be included in the tax from next year.


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  • That's a first - a politician telling the truth!

    I don't believe that anyone was foolish enough to believe that APD was a "green" tax. It's a "soft touch" tax and it's very unlikely that it will go anywhere but up. If it were really a green tax then it should rightfully be imposed on all producers of greenhouse gasses - not simply the ones who are easiest to soak. Farmers, for example, produce (with the assistance of their livestock) thousands of tons of methane every year (which gas is about 12 times as effective as a greenhouse gas as is carbon dioxide). But are they taxed on these emissions? Certainly not - if anything they attract massive taxpayer support. They are major polluters but not an easy touch; try to tax the farmers a hundred quid a cow and you'll get a very impolite answer. No, sadly the ever-ingenious and efficient travel industry will continue to be a cash-cow, as opposed to a methane-producing real cow.

    By Richard English, Monday, October 10, 2011

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