ABTA responds to Chancellor’s Autumn Budget

 Saturday, October 30, 2021 

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The Travel Association has responded to today’s Budget saying that while retail travel agents should benefit from ongoing business rates relief, the Government could have done much more to support the recovery of one of the UK’s truly world-leading economic sectors.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“Today’s Budget offers some help to retail travel companies, but does not go far enough to support the recovery of the international travel industry – the sector hit hardest by the pandemic and one that is critical to the UK’s wider economic recovery.

“It is good that the Government has responded to our calls to continue business rates relief by cutting rates by 50%; this should help high-street travel agents.

“However, this is a sector that has faced tighter Government-imposed constraints on trade than almost any other, including severe restrictions throughout the critical summer season. The Chancellor could have done more to recognise this fact – by providing tailored recovery grants to travel agents, tour operators and travel management companies. Instead, while other struggling sectors – such as theatres and pubs – will get additional tax reliefs and duty cuts, there is very little in the Budget to support many travel businesses as they attempt to recover from the biggest crisis the sector has ever faced.

“In addition, while we support the decision to remove double-taxation on domestic Air Passenger Duty (APD) from April 2023, it is regrettable that this cut will be partially offset with increased rates for long-haul flights. With the industry only at the beginning of its recovery, now is not the time to be announcing future tax rises on the sector.

“As it stands, APD is not – and has never been – an environmental tax; the revenues are not hypothecated or used for environmental purposes, such as investing in the development of sustainable aviation fuels, and the tax does not encourage use of newer, cleaner aircraft. Looking to the medium and longer term, we are supportive of fundamental reform of APD with the aim of creating fair taxation within the travel industry, which reflects the economic benefits of the sector and recognises the environmental impacts of travel.”

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