Harvie restates rejection of Scot Govt aviation tax cut ahead of statement from Ministers

Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, has restated the Greens’ longstanding rejection of the Scottish Government’s plan to cut aviation tax, ahead of a statement on the issue from Scottish Ministers to Parliament this afternoon (2pm, 5 Oct).

A recent Survation survey of 1,000 Scots for the Green MSPs showed that, of those expressing an opinion, three out of four would rather the Scottish Government prioritised spending on everyday public transport such as buses and trains while just one in four support the Air Departure Tax cut.

Research by the Greens shows that the cut will benefit wealthy frequent fliers by £850 a year, while a couple taking their children on an annual holiday will only save £16. The cut will deprive public services of £700million in revenue, and will lead to an increase in damaging climate change emissions.

Mr Harvie’s attempts in May this year to amend the legislation creating Air Departure Tax were voted down by SNP and Tory MSPs.

Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

"For years Greens have argued against this tax cut as it will benefit the wealthy jet-set rather than families going on an annual holiday, deprive our public services of much-needed funds and do irrevocable damage to our environment. Ministers and the aviation industry have peddled a story that this cut’s benefits will trickle down to the rest of society. Our opinion poll showed most Scots quite rightly don’t buy that.

“The alarm bells over this policy have been growing louder, from the Fraser of Allander Institute’s warning about tighter public finances to the UK Committee on Climate Change’s call for stronger policies to reduce emissions from transport.

“Today’s statement is a chance for Scottish Ministers to show they are listening. They must set the first rates and bands soon, and if it amounts to a tax cut for the airlines, they cannot expect to sit down with Green MSPs to agree a budget that implements those cuts. Holyrood’s priorities should be making Scotland fairer and building a clean economy, not giving an undertaxed grossly-polluting industry a free ride."