So George Osbourne has frozen APD in his budget – that means no rises for this year as had been planed. It is good news but hardly worth rejoicing.
Plain and simple, APD is too much and a reduction is in order. If we are to get the economy moving, then the UK needs visitors to spend money here. The cost of flying in/out of the UK is currently ‘visitor prohibitive’!
Frankly I’m less concerned about Brits going abroad which is what many are screaming about – it is about time we brought the differential down between outbound travel and taking staycations at home. And this little rant is coming from an American living in the UK who needs to make frequent trips back home. No, I am really concerned with increasing inbound visits and spend – and with an APD for a family of four that can equal many a monthly mortgage payment, something needs to be done to bring that cost down.
Take a look at Ireland – they seem to understand the value of tourists and the income they bring into the country. The Irish government has just lowered their APD so that all passengers flying out of the Republic pay only 3 Euros (£2.50) to any destination. Compare that to £170 out of the UK. Quite a difference – quite unacceptable!
While I think we all have to consider the carbon footprints that comes with air travel, I don’t think that’s reason enough to keep the APD high. There are many other ways to counteract that but taking away the livelihood of SMEs in the tourism sector is far more of a concern.
So George Osbourne, it was a good thing that you did but you could go further. If the economy needs stimulating, cutting the APD would go quite a way to doing that!