Scottish Labour MP 'common sense' on APD welcomed

The SNP has today welcomed a common sense contribution from Scottish Labour MP Brian Donohoe who has indicated that he supports cutting APD to entice more flights in and out of Scotland to help grow the economy.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland show today Mr Donohoe said that he was “working hard” to help “overcome” problems caused by APD in order to help Ryan Air put more direct flights between Scotland and London Stansted .

Welcoming this revelation West of Scotland SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:

“Air Passenger Duty is a misguided tax and it is great that our plan to reduce it now has the backing of Scottish Labour MP Brian Donohoe.

“In a year when tourism spend is increasing in Scotland - up 20% on last year - and Foreign Direct Investment is at the second highest level in the UK after London according to Ernst &Young, we must make the most of the attractiveness of visiting and doing business in Scotland. This attractiveness is set to rise – a report from Barclays in May found Scotland set for a major tourism boost worth £2.3bn by 2017, with spending from overseas visitors set to rise highest in Scotland at 40 per cent compared to 34 per cent across the rest of the UK. After a Yes vote, this predicted boom will be boosted even further when we will cut APD, abolishing it completely in the longer term.

“While Labour and the No parties are all over the place on APD – with Ruth Davidson’s support for scrapping it was overruled just last week by boss David Cameron – the SNP in Government has been clear and consistent: with a Yes vote, we will cut and then abolish APD. This will allow more airlines than ever to invest in Scotland, cutting the cost of family holidays and opening up more destinations across the world to Scots.

“Only the full powers that a Yes vote will allow us to unlock the full potential of the Scottish economy – and cutting APD is a perfect example of this.”

ENDS

Notes:

BBC GMS, 18.06.14 Brian Donohoe MP for Central Ayrshire: (1:42:53) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b046z0pt

Brian Donohoe MP for Central Ayrshire:

I’ve had meetings with Mike O’Leary and the board at Ryan Air and let me tell you, he’s got a fit of pique because of the whole question of air passenger duty and that was the main reason that he withdrew quite a number of the services that were operating from Prestwick airport itself. If that could be overcome – and I’m working hard to do that – then you’ll have Ryan Air back and you’ll have your ten flights a day going back to Stansted. That’s there. That’s a possibility. The company, Infidel, were sadly lacking of late in terms of any possible increase in business; in terms of there being any focus of that and that was why Prestwick ran into the state that it’s today and we hope to get it back to where it was. 

Further notes:

On BBC GMS 10/06/14  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b045c399), Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Gordon Dewar said:

“We’re very keen to get rid of APD because most of our European competitors don’t have it or have a very much reduced rate – in fact the closest to us is less than half the current rate of the UK. Fundamentally it’s a stupid tax. All the analysis shows that in Scotland alone we’re missing 2 million passengers as a result of this – airlines that could be operating out of Scotland and out of the UK are simply not here because they can’t make the economics stack up. And while that might be a short term loss to the exchequer, all of the evidence shows that after a bit of time when these missing passengers show up, the overall tax take would actually be larger through VAT and income tax.”

Last week, FlyBe backed the scrapping of APD: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2014/06/03/48182/flybe-welcomes-apd-debate-in-scottish-parliament.html

Michael O'Leary, head of European airline Ryanair told BBC Radio Scotland in February this year: "There's no doubt that most airlines would support the position of the Scottish Government in relation to the abolition of the APD (air passenger duty), which does untold damage to Scottish tourism." He added that the drop in APD will mean: “business numbers to Scotland double over a 5-10 year period” benefiting “job creation in tourism”.  - https://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2014/feb/ryanair-boss-backs-plans-independence

Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive Officer of IAG– the parent group of British Airways also said in Februrary : “If anything it might be marginally positive because, I suspect, the Scottish Government will abolish air passenger duty because they recognise the huge impact that tax has on their economy. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26383990

Foreign investment hits 16 year high: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Foreign-investment-in-Scotland-soars-d50.aspx

Scotland 'set for tourism boom' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27248907

The Scottish Government’s plans for the abolition of Air Passenger Duty after a Yes vote are set out on Page 99 of Scotland’s Future.