Tuesday , February 25 2020
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Give Britons a Holiday

Summary:
After three and a half years of Brexit chaos and all the anxiety and business uncertainty it is now time for the government to reward the British people for their patience by giving them a holiday. As we now become global Britain it is important that we give people the opportunity to live this out, to visit far flung places, to encounter and enjoy different cultures. For others, it may be enough just to relax in a sunny climate in the confidence that Brexit is finally done. We can help do this by removing one of the largest barriers to those who want to fly abroad: Air Passenger Duty (APD). Of course the immediate go to reaction is an immediate shutdown in the style of Ms Thunberg’s ‘How dare you!’ Travelling by plane is evil. We should stop people from flying, either by shaming them or by

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After three and a half years of Brexit chaos and all the anxiety and business uncertainty it is now time for the government to reward the British people for their patience by giving them a holiday. 

As we now become global Britain it is important that we give people the opportunity to live this out, to visit far flung places, to encounter and enjoy different cultures. For others, it may be enough just to relax in a sunny climate in the confidence that Brexit is finally done. We can help do this by removing one of the largest barriers to those who want to fly abroad: Air Passenger Duty (APD). 

Of course the immediate go to reaction is an immediate shutdown in the style of Ms Thunberg’s ‘How dare you!’ Travelling by plane is evil. We should stop people from flying, either by shaming them or by imposing a tax that disincentives flying rather than actually disincentivizing CO2 emissions.  

Yes APD is more about stopping people flying rather than reducing pollution. Currently, APD is charged per passenger in aircrafts that have take off weights of more than 5.7 tonnes or more than twenty seats or passengers - thus private jets are let off. Private jets are likely the vehicle of choice for the mega wealthy who aren't taxed while those in Easyjet are. There are also only two bands in terms of flight distance (and thus approximate CO2 production), below 2,000 miles and above 2,000 miles. This means that a flight to Londonderry to Newfoundland Canada is charged at the same rate as a quick flight from Dublin, Berlin or Paris 

APD also takes no account of how much CO2 different planes emit. Therefore, there is no incentive for airline companies to become more efficient. As a result, we do not see as rapid advancement in green aviation technology because the incentives are not there.

Furthermore, the vast majority of flight emissions are produced by a small number of people who fly very often meaning that the tax does little to disincentives their flying but prevents less frequent and less affluent flyers from being able to travel abroad. If you thought APD really was to help stop climate change, you would have to agree that it could almost certainly be doing a better job. 

We would be much better off with a policy that incentivizes innovation to be more fuel efficient and less carbon heavy. Thankfully the border-adjusted Carbon tax does just that. Taxing goods on the amount of carbon produced will motivate the aerospace industry to innovate while also being more equitable. 

In the meantime, let's scrap the treasury rent-seeking APD and make it cheaper for the British people to enjoy and explore Europe. This is a brilliant opportunity to not only show Britain is still strongly bound to Europe but also to give everyone a bit of respite after the brouhaha of the last three and a half years. 

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