The news that July was Edinburgh Airport’s busiest ever month of operation demonstrates the strength of the Edinburgh economy (report, 12-08-17). When coupled with the news that Glasgow Airport has also witnessed significant growth, however, it must raise deep concerns about the SNP Government’s aviation strategy.
With business booming and tickets available for flights to many European capitals at prices comparable with the car parking charges at Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports, Nicola Sturgeon is intent on slashing air passenger duty (APD). This is a policy for the few, not the many.
Indeed, analysis from the Office for National Statistics has suggested the SNP’s plan, which is supported by the Tories, to halve APD would save the top 20% of earners £73 per year whilst the poorest would save just £4 on average. In short, cutting APD will increase inequality.
Furthermore, the SNP Government’s own analysis shows its plan to cut APD by 50% could result in up to an extra 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases reaching the atmosphere each year. Add to that real concerns about noise along the flight paths to understand the damage stimulating unconstrained growth in the aviation industry can do.
The SNP Government has set aside an estimated £189m to cut APD. Would that money not be better spent by investing it in more sustainable forms of transport?
Rather than making it cheaper for the richest Scots to jet off to New York and Florida, let’s use it to create a cleaner and greener transport system in Scotland. Let’s use it for the many and not the few.
I would urge readers who are concerned about this to contribute to the Scottish Governments consultations on cutting APD and their Climate Change Bill – both can be found online and close in mid-September.
The SNP’s record on listening to consultations is not a good one, but it is important that progressive voices are heard.