Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has taken aim at the Scottish Government by criticising their “wrongheaded” plans for a multi-million tax break for the aviation industry. It comes as SNP ministers published their bill to abolish air passenger duty in favour of an air departure tax.
SNP ministers plan to spend £250m cutting aviation tax by 50% from 1 April 2018, before abolishing it completely at a further cost of £250 million.
Mr McArthur warned that “SNP plans to pump an extra 60,000 tonnes of carbon emissions into Scotland's air every year signals an abandonment of its commitment to the environment”.
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and WWF Scotland have made clear their opposition, and so too has the independent think tank, Reform Scotland. On the upside for the SNP government, they do now have the support of the Scottish Tories, who last week abandoned their commitment during the election to oppose APD cuts.
Mr McArthur added:
"After repeatedly missing our emissions targets, we need a dramatic change in government attitude. Sadly, this wrongheaded move takes us backwards in the fight against climate change.
“The SNP government complains endlessly about not having enough money. Yet at the same time as handing local councils a £300m cut to their budgets, SNP Ministers are happy to offer a £250m tax bonanza for airline companies as a first instalment. This despite latest figures showing the number of air passengers rocketing over the last five years, with a 6% jump in the last year alone.
“The decision shows the SNP has the wrong priorities. Instead of tackling transport emissions, which remain unchanged over recent years, the SNP has teamed up with the Tories to line the pockets of the airline industry”.