APD cuts promised in Scottish independence debate

By Martin Ferguson

The Scottish travel industry received a boost this week in the run up to the independence referendum on September 18 with promises by both sides to cut air passenger duty.

At a debate organised by Scotland’s travel trade body, the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), politicians and campaigners from both the “yes” and “no” campaigns pledged to slash APD if they win the autumn vote.

Annabelle Ewing, the SNP MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, said if her party were elected to govern an independent Scotland it would cut the tax by 50% in the first year and eventually abolish APD if “finances allowed”.

While Ian McGill, the leader of the Better Together campaign in Edinburgh, said he would campaign for APD to be controlled by a devolved Scottish government.

Less committed was Scottish Labour MSP and Better Together campaigner James Kelly, who said he would keep “an open mind” about who should control the stealth tax.

The SPAA has campaigned against APD since its inception, claiming it was discriminatory against Scottish business and consumers who have to pay the levy twice if travelling overseas via an English airport.

The major issues debated at the Glasgow forum were EU membership and currency.

The Better Together campaign said Scotland would not automatically be welcomed into a sterling currency union with the rest of the UK and accused opponents of not having a contingency plan.

But Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said there was no contingency plan because it was “inconceivable” for Scotland and the rest of the UK not to share the pound.

On Europe, the Yes Scotland camp insisted it would be treated as a successor state as it was already part of the European Union.

Opponents to independence have claimed that Scotland would be left on the sidelines until the 28 members states voted to allow it to join.

Sourced by bbt

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