Air Departure Tax (Update)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th October 2017.

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Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

For years, passengers in the Highlands and Islands have received an exemption, and that must continue. The devolution of APD was agreed by the Smith commission three years ago and was SNP policy for many years before that. Today, however, the cabinet secretary tells us that he cannot switch on the air departure tax policy, despite the Parliament passing a piece of legislation to agree to do so. Today, the SNP is using a convenient opportunity to kick a bad policy into the long grass. Let me be clear: the SNP’s ADT cut is bad policy and, instead of being delayed, it should be cancelled.

Will the cabinet secretary confirm that he still intends to cut £190 million from public services, or will he rule out cutting ADT in the lifetime of this session of Parliament? In any event, how can the cabinet secretary justify a multimillion-pound tax cut for the frequent-flying few at a time of hardship and austerity for the people of this country? Is it not the case that the Scottish Government supports a tax cut that was rejected in its own consultation, which would increase aviation emissions and which would strip hundreds of millions of pounds out of our public services?