Cutting Air Passenger Duty is welcome, but it should be scrapped entirely

There is welcome news for taxpayers today as the changes to Air Passenger Duty announced in the 2014 Autumn Statement come into force.

The changes, which see children under the age of 12 exempted from the tax, could save a family with two youngsters £26 on a trip to Europe, or as much as £142 on a journey to the United States. Of course, some families have already paid for their trips away this summer, which means that those families will have to go through what appears to be a rather bureaucratic and complicated process to claim back their overpaid tax.

This adjustment aside, it would be churlish to complain. Combined with the abolition of the two highest bands (of four) of Air Passenger Duty, there is a lot to celebrate.

But – frankly – it’s time we just stopped these fiddly changes entirely. Families are taxed to the hilt as they earn income, and then are taxed again when they want to enjoy it with a holiday – the taxman chasing all the way to the departure gate. Politicians tell British businesses to go abroad and explore new, emerging markets so that we might boost exports, and then charge them for doing so.

The Treasury has already admitted that Air Passenger Duty has no environmental impact. It’s a revenue raiser only. It’s time it was scrapped entirely.

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