Rates of Duty

Part of Clause 14 – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 3rd April 1995.

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Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane , Rotherham 9:45 pm, 3rd April 1995

I beg to move amendment No. 83, in page 10, line 13, after 'State', insert 'or Cyprus or Malta'.

The amendment deals with the transport by air from this country to two Commonwealth nations that lie within the European geographical area: Cyprus and Malta.

Some 50 years ago, the air over Malta was full of aeroplanes—those of the Nazi Luftwaffe trying to crush that little island out of existence. Britain owes a debt to Malta and, as we celebrate VE day, the Bill provides the House with an opportunity to give the people of Malta a small present by reducing from £10 to £5 the air passenger duty that British holidaymakers must pay when they fly to Malta.

10 pm

As hon. Members may know, we have two rates of air passenger duty: £5 for the European Union and the European Economic Area; and £10 for the rest of the world. The amendment simply proposes that, as Commonwealth countries, Malta and Cyprus should be treated on an equal footing with the European Union in that regard and people travelling by air from the United Kingdom to either Malta or Cyprus should pay only £5 in air passenger duty.

The sum involved is minimal. Some 500,000 holidaymakers from the UK go to Malta each year and a little under 1 million go to Cyprus, so the Cypriot tourist industry is suffering. To make that concession just to Malta holidaymakers would cost less than the share options to be exercised by the chairman of the National Grid. Given that this is a chance to pay a practical tribute to the Maltese people by encouraging our citizens to go on holiday to Malta, I ask all hon. Members to vote for the amendment.