No tax reduction
Sturgeon rules out cut in air passenger duty
Regional airlines such as Loganair would benefit from a cut in APD
Nicola Sturgeon threw Boris Johnson’s transport connectivity plans into disarray after saying she has no intention of following his call to cut air passenger duty.
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson said he wanted to cut the tax on domestic flights as part of a strategy to connect the UK.
The proposal was welcomed by business groups as a means to rebuild the battered aviation industry and the economy in general. Jonathan Hinkles, CEO of Loganair, said it would boost regional routes such as Edinburgh to Newquay and Glasgow to Southampton which are better served by air than by train.
But at First Minister’s Questions, Green co-Holyrood leader, Alison Johnstone, accused Mr Johnson of being “deeply irresponsible” and also criticised his plans to upgrade roads in Scotland.
She also questioned the approval for a new coal mine in Cumbria, although later it was announced the proposal for the mine was being called in for ministerial investigation.
Ms Johnstone asked the First Minister if she would “take responsibility and ensure APD (air passenger duty) is not cut in Scotland, whatever the UK Government does?”
The First Minster replied: “We have no plans to cut air passenger duty.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Budget agreement with the Green Party showed the government’s “commitment to a green, sustainable recovery” ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow later this year.
On the UK government’s decision to call in the coal mine plan, Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said: “After months of pressure, ministers have finally been forced to act.
“The truth is that this mine is terrible for our fight against climate change, won’t help our steel industry and won’t create secure jobs.
“The saga of this mine is a symptom of a government that isn’t serious about its climate ambitions and refuses to invest at scale in a green future to provide the jobs that workers have a right to expect.
“The Government must now block the mine and focus instead on real solutions to secure the long-term future of UK steel – and create low-carbon jobs in Cumbria and across the country with a proper green stimulus.”