Greens urge Scottish ministers to ditch ‘absurd’ plans to cut flights tax

Ministers have been urged to scrap plans to halve the levy on air passengers, after new figures showed a 30% rise in plane journeys over the last five years.

The latest Scottish transport statistics showed air passenger numbers reached 28.8 million in 2017-18 – a rise of 29.8% from 2012-13.

That compares to a 5.7% increase in ferry journeys, a 7.2% increase in trips made in private cars, and a 17.4% increase in train journeys on ScotRail services.

Meanwhile journeys by cycling have fallen by 6.5%, while there were 7.6% fewer travellers using buses to get around.

With plane journeys soaring, the Scottish Greens insisted it was time for the Scottish Government to ditch plans for a 50% cut in Air Passenger Duty.

Ministers have pledged to replace the levy with a new devolved Air Departure Tax, which would be set at half the exisiting rate.

Scottish Green co-convener Pastrick Harvie said: “The transport statistics show that the number of air passengers increased dramatically in the last five years.

“In light of this, the Scottish Government’s absurd plans to give a tax break to the highly polluting aviation industry should be scrapped.”

Mr Harvie added: “In the face of the climate crisis, Ministers should not be focusing their efforts on placating the only transport industry that is already free of fuel duty.”

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