It was no great surprise that in yesterday’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond did not make any announcements featuring significant new spending commitments or tax cuts. Instead, he concentrated his message on making sure the UK economy, and government finances, are as robust as possible as we prepare for life outside the European Union. However, there were some welcome announcements, including that there will be investment in the road network and a modernisation programme for the railways, which will benefit our customers travelling to and from their ports of departure as well as those on domestic breaks. Although, on the face of it, the fact that there was no announcement of a cut in APD could be seen as disappointing, Mr Hammond has made it clear that such major decisions will be made only in the main Budget. Over the coming months, we will be stepping up our lobbying efforts as part of the A Fair Tax on Flying coalition to push for further APD reductions in that Budget. There is growing support within Parliament as more and more MPs recognise the sound economic reasons behind cutting this regressive tax. ABTA will be making a strong case that reductions to APD are win-win, enabling the Government to improve the UK’s international competitiveness while supporting UK holidaymakers and the travel industry.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive