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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Question ref. S5W-16980
Asked by: Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 31 May 2018

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in its discussions with the UK Government on the devolution of air passenger duty.

Current status: Answered by Derek Mackay on 1 June 2018


Answer

At the time of the UK Autumn Budget in 2017 we announced that the introduction of Air Departure Tax (ADT) in Scotland would be deferred until the issues raised in relation to the Highlands and Islands exemption had been resolved. The Scottish Government has been clear that it cannot take on ADT until a solution has been found to the Highlands and Islands exemption - to do so would comprise the devolved powers and risk damage to the Highlands and Islands economy.

The Scottish Government and UK Government have continued to work together, at both ministerial and official levels, to seek a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption issue. Despite these efforts, and combined with the continuing uncertainty as to how Brexit might affect aviation, it has become clear that aiming to introduce the tax at the beginning of the next fiscal year, April 2019, is not possible.

The Scottish Government has a longstanding commitment to reduce ADT by 50%, and we are doing all we can to work with airlines and airports to help grow the direct routes which are important for our tourism sector and Scottish businesses. While we work towards a resolution to the Highlands and Islands exemption, we call on the UK Government to reduce APD rates to support connectivity and economic growth in Scotland and across the UK.