Tue 25 Apr, 2017

Greens will propose amendments which place duties on Ministers to achieve social, environmental and genuine economic benefits instead of simply doing the aviation industry’s bidding. Patrick Harvie MSP

New figures produced today (25 April) by the Scottish Greens show that the richest 10% of households stand to gain four times as much from the 50% cut to APD than the poorest 10%.

The Green group of MSPs, who were elected on a manifesto commitment to retain Air Passenger Duty, will abstain in today’s Holyrood vote allowing the Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill to proceed to the amendment stage, so they can attempt a major overhaul with alternative tax proposals that have “social, environmental and genuine economic benefits”. 

The party’s finance and economy spokesperson, Patrick Harvie MSP will highlight in the debate how ministers have sat back as fares for other modes of transport continue to rise and also make clear that neither the environmental nor the economic case for the proposals have been made.

Glasgow MSP, Patrick Harvie said:

“It’s absurd that the SNP’s plan to cut aviation tax is being debated right before a debate on Earth Hour, where some of their MSPs will be patting each other on the back for their environmental credentials. But that’s not the only contradiction in this debate.

“The SNP is proposing a tax break for the only transport industry that is already free of fuel duty. They’re happy to see people’s daily train and bus fares rise, but they’re trying to convince us we’ll all be better off if occasional holiday flights are a few pounds cheaper. 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.

“And they seem utterly unwilling to acknowledge the data we do have about the impact of their policy – this tax break will overwhelmingly benefit the small minority of high income households who fly far more than most of us. In effect this tax will take cash from public purse and hand it to the wealthiest; just the kind of thing the SNP rightly condemn the Tories for doing at Westminster.

“The government is proposing this law to create a tax that it basically doesn’t think should exist, so there’s no wonder that their policy is so confused.

“This Bill can be fixed though – Greens will propose amendments which place duties on Ministers to achieve social, environmental and genuine economic benefits instead of simply doing the aviation industry’s bidding. We’ll let the Bill proceed to the amendment stage, but if those changes aren’t made we can’t support the Bill in its current form.”


Figures from Civil Aviation Authority passenger survey. Analysis for Scottish Green MSPs by the Fellow Traveller project. A 50% cut in APD in 2018/19 would cost the public finances £163m. Of that £163m, over one fifth (21%) - £33.5m - will go to UK leisure passengers in the richest 10% of Scottish households. Comparison with leisure passengers from the lowest 10% of households below.

Total tax giveaway to UK leisure passengers, £89,669,000

Richest 10% households, 37%, £33,461,000

Richest 30% households, 68%, £60,846,000

Poorest 10% households, 10%, £8,564,000



Get involved

More like this

Tory budget obsession with public debt will cause deep harm as a result of austerity

Wed 22 Nov, 2017

Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (22 Nov) criticised the UK Chancellor for a budget that continues shameful treatment of women and families.

Patrick said:

“The Chancellor expects applause for graciously agreeing to treat Scotland’s emergency services no worse than elsewhere in the UK, while pressing ahead with the most reckless and destructive economic course of action any UK Government has ever undertaken. 

#SGPConf: Chapman says Greens now on a quest

Sat 21 Oct, 2017

Scottish Green Party co-convener Maggie Chapman has challenged the Scottish Government to once again ‘nick’ her party’s policies and include them in the next Programme for Government.

Speaking at the Scottish Green Party’s autumn conference in Edinburgh, Maggie Chapman told members that the Scottish Greens were now on a “quest” and reminded them of their ABCs – “abolish alienation, build belonging and create communities”.

Chapman went on to say that Greens are now at the forefront of campaigning for an economy that works for all and does not “bleed the environment dry”.

We’ve been calling for it for decades ... it’s good to see Basic Income on the agenda

Patrick Harvie MSP Fri 20 Oct, 2017

Kermit the frog once famously remarked that “It's not easy being green”. Sometimes that feels pretty close to the truth.

One of the most familiar experiences for Greens in politics is how long we have to work on our priorities before other parties to eventually catch up. It can often feel like our policies are launched ten years ahead of their time, giving us a decade to campaign for what feels like radical action after which someone else pinches our policy and it becomes accepted wisdom.