Air Departure Tax (Update)

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

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Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

Well, Labour is partly complicit, too—its activity probably was not compliant, either.

I am surprised that a member of Murdo Fraser’s standing is not aware that the Scottish Parliament cannot pass acts or orders that contravene EU law and regulations. I am so surprised that Murdo Fraser, as a front-bench spokesperson, does not know that simple fact about the function and operation of this Parliament and the parameters in which we have to operate.

On the question about principle, SNP policy—Government policy—remains the same, but what we have been asked to do—[

Interruption.

] I am surprised to hear heckling from the Labour Party. I know that many Labour members with an interest in the Highlands and Islands want us to protect that region as we deliver air departure tax. I am surprised by the Labour Party’s opposition on the issue.

We have said that the power is in a defective state and that we will co-operate with the UK Government to resolve the issue, but it is for the UK Government to resolve. It, not the Scottish Government, created the potential non-compliance issue. We believe in the outcome of the Smith commission—the principle of there being no detriment to the people of Scotland—and we are trying to protect that.

Protecting the Highlands and Islands also includes ensuring that there is a like-for-like exemption and that we protect the devolution of powers, but in a competent fashion and not in the typical bombastic, chaotic and incompetent fashion that the Tories have followed recently.

We will try to find a resolution. The principle remains the same, but it must be implemented competently.