Air Departure Tax won’t be reduced

Tuesday May 7th 2019

Written by Midlothian View editor, Phil Bowen

Local MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed news that the Scottish Government will tomorrow seek parliamentary support for a number of measures designed to help Scotland tackle the climate emergency.

Last week at First Minister Questions, Nicola Sturgeon, was repeatedly asked if the Scottish Government would abandon their idea of reducing Air Departure Tax by 50%. The First Minister refused to be drawn on this, simply saying that it would not be reduced this financial year.

However, now the Scottish Government say they will now commit to not proceeding with proposed reductions to Air Departure Tax – alongside increasing the share of capital expenditure on low carbon projects year-on-year, further empowering councils to tackle emissions through a workplace parking levy, and the introduction of low emission zones.

Following the First Minister’s declaration of a climate emergency – and the decision to propose new emissions reduction targets for Scotland – the Scottish Government says it is committed to reviewing a range of policies for their impact on emissions.

Commenting ahead of tomorrow’s debate, Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said:

“Following the First Minister’s announcement, the Scottish Government has moved quickly to increase Scotland’s emissions reduction targets – which will now be the most stringent in the world. Work is also ongoing to review a range of policies to ensure that we can meet those targets.

“The fact is that the Scottish Parliament has never been able to use powers over aviation tax, given that the UK Government failed to devolve them in a fit state. The Scottish Government will however continue to work with the tourism and aviation sectors to develop them in a sustainable way and to reduce carbon emissions.

“While we are making this commitment as the first step to meeting the climate emergency, no one should be pretending that this is job done. Politicians across parliament and across the UK need to rise to the occasion and do what is in the national – and indeed international – interest, and not just what suits party political purposes.

“Labour have consistently played politics with the proposed Workplace Parking Levy, teaming up with the Tories to spread no end of scare stories and misinformation in a transparent attempt to try and gain votes – but if they are serious about taking action to tackle climate change they will step up tomorrow, drop their opposition and back wider action to reduce emissions.”

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