Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for children

Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for childrenBy Juliet Dennis,

The A Fair Tax on Flying coalition has launched a large-scale campaign calling on the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty on children’s flights.

Scrap The Tax on Family Flights launched on Monday, and urges staff in the travel trade as well as consumers to register their opposition to the tax on children.

APD adds £52 to the cost of a family of four’s economy flights to destinations in Europe and £276 to destinations such as the US. The tax is the highest of its kind in the world and only four other European countries levy a similar charge.

The coalition of aviation, travel and tourism partners is confident of widespread support for the campaign, which comes ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement by chancellor George Osborne, and hopes to bring about a change in the March 2015 budget, the last before the next General Election.

It follows a ComRes poll, commissioned by A Fair Tax on Flying, which found 65% of UK adults thought children under 12 should be exempt from APD in the same way children are exempt from other taxes, while 75% said it was unfair UK families pay a flight tax while those from other countries do not get charged.

The coalition, set up with the aim of reducing APD, claims it would cost the Treasury £50 million if it stopped charging the tax on children aged two to 12, who are currently charged the same amount of APD on flights as adults. The £50 million is understood to represent around 1.7% of overall APD revenue.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “The tax on children’s flights is a strain on family budgets. Scrapping APD on children’s flights will help to make an annual holiday more affordable for hard working and hard pressed families at a minimal cost to government.”

Around 30 members of Parliament have already signed a House of Commons early day motion to support the issue. “We expect this number to increase,” added the spokesperson.

A special online calculator – a new version of the coalition’s existing tax calculator – has been created for supporters of the campaign to work out how much they are paying for their children to fly.

The calculator can then send an electronic postcard to chancellor George Osborne to scrap the tax and allows supporters to tweet their opposition directly to the Treasury.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “As an industry we can support this and spread the message ahead of what is a crucial pre-election budget. We’d urge all of our members and travel companies far and wide to use Facebook and Twitter to follow the campaign and share messages and the calculator link with their customers and contacts.”

The campaign follow recent calls from high-profile figures in the industry, including Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger and BMI chief executive Cathal O’Connell, to abolish APD for children.

Richard Singer, European managing director of Travelzoo and a long-time campaigner against APD, said: “Travelzoo fully supports the ‘Scrap The Tax on Family Flights’ campaign and welcomes the news that David Cameron has voiced his support for this initiative.

“Since July 2013 Travelzoo has been lobbying the Government to remove or reduce Air Passenger Duty on flights for families – our suggestion was to remove this tax on flights during school holiday dates.

“A removal of tax on all flights for children under the age of 12 is in keeping with our aim to fight what we call the Parent Trap – the combined effect of the government fines for term time holidays, the highest flight tax in the world and the increase in price of travel during peak dates. Travelzoo will join this campaign and continue to fight the Parent Trap on behalf of all UK families.”

More information can be found at afairtaxonflying.org, or the campaign can be followed on Twitter @ScrapFamilyAPD.

Sourced by Travel Weekly

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