Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank


Reform Scotland’s Chairman says retaining air passenger tax is out of step with other European countries

Reform Scotland, the independent, non-party think tank, has published a briefing paper in which it reinforces the Scottish Government’s plans to bring forward proposals to cut and then scrap Air Passenger Duty in its programme for government.

Air Passenger Duty is due to be devolved by the Scotland Act 2016 and Reform Scotland has today endorsed previous work carried out on behalf of Edinburgh Airport, which highlighted that the loss of revenue from halving and scrapping APD could be at least matched by increases in revenue from other sources such as job growth, productivity growth and tourism expenditure.

In addition, Reform Scotland’s briefing – Cut then scrap: The case against Air Passenger Duty – has highlighted the benefits to Scots, who would save significant sums of money on their own travel if the tax were scrapped.

It also highlights the fact that only four other EU countries now have a similar tax, with several others having scrapped it in recent years.

Commenting, Reform Scotland Chairman Alan McFarlane, said:

“Although the SNP was the only main party at the Scottish election whose manifesto pledged to cut the tax, numerous other groups, many of whom are referred to in this briefing, also back the proposal.  This included those associated with the business community, due to the potential positive impact it would have on economic growth; as well as those from the tourism sector who highlighted the benefit in terms of lowering costs for Scottish families going on holiday, as well as attracting visitors to Scotland.

“Reform Scotland believes that the Scottish Government should proceed with its plans to cut the tax. Countries across Europe, including Ireland, Belgium, Holland and Denmark, have scrapped their air passenger tax in recent years. By retaining ours, we are out of step with the rest of the EU.

“This is not an ideological issue. It is an obvious and simple economic case. The economic benefits of cutting or scrapping the tax will outweigh the cost of doing so, which will benefit everyone.

“We encourage all political parties at Holyrood to support the cut in APD, in the best interests of our economy and our people. If they fail to do so it will be up to them to justify why they oppose a measure which a wide range of voices argue will help promote economic growth.”


Cut then scrap: the case against APD