Let’s Fly

Apparently the Conservative-led government can no longer be relied upon to do anything that doesn’t make me want to bang my head repeatedly against a brick wall in open-mouthed astonishment at their zesty blend of rank incompetence and lack of principle, so it was particularly refreshing today to read this piece in The Telegraph, reporting that the Taxpayers’ Alliance is renewing their call for an abolishment of air passenger duty (the ludicrously huge tax on passenger air travel in the UK).

The Telegraph reports:

The pressure group – which was formed in 2004 and supports lower taxes for UK residents – has given its backing to the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, which is urging the Government to reduce or abolish APD.

“Britain’s punitive taxes on flights, now the highest in the world, are an incredible burden on families taking a well-earned break,” said Emma Boon, campaign director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance. “Jobs are also at stake as tourists and business travellers choose a destination to visit or invest where they won’t get ripped off. APD should really be abolished, but the very least politicians can do is cut this tax to a fairer level.”

Absolutely. Air Passenger Duty is just another typically, depressingly British example of the government picking an arbitrary thing to fixate upon, and gradually cranking up the tax in each successive Budget to help fund whatever addle-headed, moronic scheme happens to be flavour of the month at that particular time. It penalises business travellers, leisure travellers, people trying to visit far-flung family, people in long distance relationships and  anyone else whose only crime is their need to transit through one of Britain’s dilapidated airports.

The article goes on to explain:

APD is paid by all travellers departing from a UK airport. Following the most recent rise in the tax, an eight per cent hike made in April, a family of four travelling to Europe must pay £52 in APD, while those flying farther afield are hit even harder. The cost of APD for a family of four flying to the United States or Egypt, for example, is £260; for those travelling to the Caribbean or South Africa, it is £324; and a family visiting Argentina or Australia must pay £368.

Those figures are doubled for those flying in premium-economy, business- or first-class cabins.

That level of taxation is simply not funny, in fact it is intolerably ridiculous, and ought not to be allowed to remain under a Conservative government. Staggeringly, in 2005 this tax was only £5 per person for a European flight and £20 for a longer distance flight. A 360% rise in any tax over just seven years is quite ridiculous, and this one is proving to be a real dampener on the economy at a time when we need to be keeping business and family costs down the most. It’s typical of this rudderless, unprincipled government that yet further rises are also planned this year.

I strongly encourage everyone to sign the petition to scrap Air Passenger Duty at this website.