Greens slam aviation tax cut plans at First Minister’s Questions

The First Minister came under fire at Holyrood today after government plans for an aviation tax cut were slammed by the Greens.

Patrick Harvie MSP cited fresh research, produced by the party, showing that the richest 10% of households stand to gain four times as much from Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a 50% cut to Air Passenger Duty than the poorest 10%.

Harvie also welcomed environmental campaigner Neil Keveren, who was sitting in the public gallery, from the Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign. Neil completed a 23-day walk to Scotland on Wednesday (26 April) to highlight the environmental dangers of building a third runway at London’s largest airport.

Glasgow MSP, Patrick Harvie said:

“This government is focussed on introducing bad legislation that will increase emissions when we should be working towards our international obligations to reduce them. Even if the First Minister thinks that damage to the climate caused by the airlines can be ignored, it’s clear that this tax cut will be very unfair.

“Research published by the Greens has shown just how unfair – even if the airlines pass the full tax cut on through reduced ticket prices, the highest income households stand to gain far more than anyone else. Of the £90m tax giveaway going to UK leisure passengers, the richest 10% will gain over £33m, while the poorest 10% will stand to benefit by just £8.5m.

“Meanwhile public transport, that people depend on every day, remains expensive and unreliable. It’s just not fair to offer a tax break that drives up both pollution and inequality. The SNP is proposing a tax break for the only transport industry that is already free of fuel duty while sitting back as we see people’s daily train and bus fares rise. They say they’ll belatedly carry out an economic analysis instead of relying on the industry’s spin, but they’ve already decided what the tax policy will be before those facts are in.”