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Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 9:35 am on 29th November 1996.

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Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Secretary of State for National Heritage 9:35 am, 29th November 1996

Is that intervention another example of the Opposition resisting every tax increase and supporting every spending pledge? Looking at the evidence, I note that the year in which our country had the record increase in tourism and more visitors than ever before was the year in which the air passenger duty was introduced. I would not argue that those two facts were connected any more than I would advance the case that air passenger duty promoted the domestic tourism market. That might be stretching people's patience too far. But the fact is that our tax on air travel is extremely modest compared with others. There is no excise duty on air fuel and there is no VAT on tickets. Air passenger duty is a modest and appropriate response, especially in a booming and successful industry.