MPs Share Greens' Jumbo Tax Concerns

23rd November 2003
news
release

Manchester Friends of the Earth [1] is pleased that four Greater Manchester MPs [2] signed the Early Day Motion 1688 [3] over the past two months. The organisation is calling for other Manchester MPs to show their support for this motion, which asks the Government for a more sustainable aviation White Paper that would stop the aviation industry getting away with not paying over 9 billion pounds of tax [4].

This money, the campaigners are arguing, would be better spent improving buses and trains and other public services. The money could pay for an additional 21,000 teachers, nurses or police officers. Taxation, as the Treasury admits [5], would also be a leverage to reducing climate change emissions from the industry.

More than 100 MPs signed the EDM 1688 throughout the UK; this shows a growing support for more sustainable air transport. Indications are that the White Paper will be published before the end of this year so there is still a little time to influence it. Manchester Friends of the Earth will continue to work together with the public and lobby local MPs.

Kerstin Moritz of Manchester Friends of the Earth says:

‘We are very happy that Greater Manchester MPs are concerned about the impacts of massive airport expansion as well, and have signed the Early Day Motion. This is not about stopping people from flying but asking for a sensible approach to the future of the aviation industry.’

It seems clear that the Government supports more air travel growth and meeting predicted demand will require the equivalent of a new airport the current size of Stansted every year for the next 30 years. Yet no new runways or airports, or the noise and pollution that accompanies them, would be needed if the aviation industry did not receive such a jumbo tax break [6].

Readers can go to www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/planetruth to download a letter to send to their MP. This asks them to support a more sustainable aviation White Paper.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

[2] David Heyes (Ashton under Lyne BC)
David Chaytor (Bury North BC)
Patsy Calton (Cheadle BC)
Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton CC).

[3] Link: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1688

[4] There is no tax on fuel, no VAT, and duty-free sales continue except for trips entirely within the EU.

£billion per year
5.7 Fuel tax @ 45.8p per litre (the same rate as applied to car fuel)
4.0 VAT
0.4 Duty free
-0.9 Deduct Airport Departure Tax (currently £5 or £10 per ticket)
9.2 Net tax subsidy

[5] The Guardian 28 October 2003.

[6] The DfT’s SPASM computer model is used to assess transport demand and was the basis for the Government’s airport expansion proposals announced last July. At the request of CPRE, AEF and Friends of the Earth, the DfT carried out new runs on SPASM to test different assumptions from those used by DfT officials. The new assumptions include that by the year 2030 aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as motor vehicle fuel (45.8p per litre), and that air travel will be subject to VAT. The new prediction is that the number of passengers using UK airports would rise from 180 million a year in 2000 to 315 million a year in 2030 (instead of the official forecast figure of 501 million passengers). On that basis there would be no need to build any new runways.