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Published on : Monday, December 2, 2013
ABTA welcomed the statement by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers that if she received a request for devolution on the level of Air Passenger Duty on short haul flights out of Northern Ireland, she would consider it. The power to set Air Passenger Duty levels for all flights of over 1,500 miles was devolved to the Northern Ireland assembly in 2011, and Ms Villiers comments come on the back of the recent decision in the Republic of Ireland to abolish its aviation tax entirely.
Ms Villiers made her comments in response to a question fielded in the House of Commons on 28 November by Jim Shannon MP in which he asked the Secretary of State what steps she was taking to review air passenger duty in order to maintain competition for both investors and visitors to Northern Ireland.
Stephen D’Alfonso ABTA Head of Public Affairs said: “We welcome the written statement made by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that she would consider any request to devolve the level of air passenger duty charged on short haul flights out of Northern Ireland to the NI assembly. ABTA has been working hard in NI and Westminster putting the case that APD is a regressive tax which does immense damage to the UK economy, with a particularly damaging impact being felt in Northern Ireland. The recent decision by the government in the Republic of Ireland to totally abolish their aviation tax will put Northern Ireland at a competitive disadvantage. The arguments for lowering or abolishing this tax in Northern Ireland, and the whole of the UK, are stronger than ever.”