Airlines hit out at Labour plan to charge visitors to enter the UK

Airlines hit out at Labour plan to charge visitors to enter the UKImage via Shutterstock

Airlines have hit out at suggestions that a Labour government would impose a new charge on visitors from countries that are not required to obtain a visa to enter the UK.

The unspecified income would fund 1,000 additional Border Force staff.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the party would fund the staff with a charge for visitors from the US and 55 other countries with a visa waiver agreement with the UK.

People in countries with a visa waiver system of fast-track permission to enter the UK would be charged about £10 per visit under the plans.

Labour estimates about 5.5 million travellers a year would have to pay the new fee – many from the US, Australia and Canada.

But British Air Transport Association chief executive Nathan Stower said carriers have “significant concerns” about the proposal.

“Visitors from countries like the USA and Australia already pay the highest air passenger tax in the world to fly to the UK – £71 from next April – contributing billions of pounds to the Treasury. Adding yet another charge will make the UK more uncompetitive in attracting tourists, businesses and inbound investment,” said Stower.

“It is not clear how this proposed charge would be collected. The vast majority of visitors from those countries that are not required to obtain a visa to enter the UK, such as the USA, do not currently provide information to UK authorities ahead of their visit.

“Furthermore, if more money were to be raised from airline passengers alone, it would only fair for this to fund improvements in the border at airports and not at other ports of entry such as Calais.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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