Transport minister Derek Mackay MSP has today called for Air Passenger Duty to be devolved to Holyrood immediately. He believes the transfer of powers would “maximise the industry’s potential”.
I agree with him absolutely.
While the Smith Commission has recommended that APD be devolved, there is no guarantee that this will happen. We will, as usual, have to rely on English MPs to make that decision for us. When you consider that devolving APD was first recommended by the Calman Commission, and that we’re still waiting, it does seems unlikely.
Our tourism industry is strong, but it could be much stronger – Scottish airports claim that APD is a barrier to growth and also damages tourism. Reducing and ultimately removing the tax would bring significant opportunities.
Mr Mackay said: “By devolving APD to Scotland we could unlock the country’s full potential, bringing significant opportunities for airlines, Scotland’s airports and passengers.
“It’s time for Westminster to act – there is no reason why powers over APD should not be transferred to Holyrood immediately so we can get to grips with this unfair tax and allow our airports to maximise their potential.”