Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive says halving Air Passenger Duty (APD) north of the Border will deliver a major economic boost, creating nearly 10,000 new jobs.
A single 50% cut would also add more than £300 million in Gross Value annually to the Scottish economy from the estimated 18 million additional passengers predicted to use Scotland’s airports by 2021.
Scotland’s biggest airport highlighted the figures in its APD consultation document to the Scottish Government on the closing day for submissions.
Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh’s chief executive, said greater numbers of people would come to Scotland for holidays, to visit friends and family, study and do business.
“It it is vital that the Scottish Government takes this golden opportunity and confirms that APD will be reduced by 50% in April 2018,” he stated.
“A one move 50% reduction will bring an extra 18 million passengers to Scotland between the cut being confirmed and the end of 2021.
“It will generate 10,000 new jobs in tourism and add more than £300 million Gross Value Added per year to the Scottish economy and generate a range of tax revenues that will comfortably exceed the cost of the reduction.”
Scotland is a relatively small island nation on the western edge of Europe, he said, and the market place was increasingly globalised.
“It is vital that our government uses the new powers at its disposal to reduce this regressive tax and deliver a measure which will give Scotland a competitive edge over the rest of the UK, giving a boost to connectivity, jobs and prosperity that will benefit everyone,” he added
Climate campaigners want the Scottish government to rethink the cut as they believe it is inconsistent with Scotland’s climate commitments.
SNP ministers have said they will cut the duty by 50% between 2018 and 2021.
APD rates for the UK range between £13 and £146 depending on the distance of the flight and the class of seat.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has called on the Scottish government to scrap its plans, saying it was the “wrong priority” at a time of public spending cuts and environmental challenges.
The Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition said it would result in an extra 60,000 tonnes of greenhouses gases reaching the atmosphere every year.
Tom Ballantine, SCCS chairman, added: “The £300m raised each year from APD is the equivalent of employing 11,507 nurses or installing solar panels on 60,000 homes, which is almost every home in Dundee.”
The Scottish Government has said the UK’s APD was one of the most expensive taxes of its kind in the world and that it was committed to tackling climate change.
Control of the tax is to be devolved to Holyrood under the Scotland Bill in April 2017.