The airport tax debate has dominated our letters page. Here’s two views on the matter.
What we know about the SNP plans to cut airport tax that Gordon MacDonald MSP does not tell us (News Comment, June 21) is that it is a regressive move that is supported by the Tories in Scotland and their DUP chums in Northern Ireland.
Analysis from the Office for National Statistics has suggested the SNP’s plan to halve airport tax would save the top 20% of earners £73 per year while the poorest would save just £4 on average. In short, cutting airport tax will increase inequality.
Furthermore, the SNP Government’s own analysis shows its plan to cut airport tax by 50% could result in up to an extra 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
Indeed, the SNP were sent packing in Holyrood when the only evidence they could dig up to back their argument was provided by the airline industry.
Both the Tories and the SNP claim that in the longer-term the move will boost the Scottish economy, but neither say how it will be funded in the short term. Will the £300m needed be taken from education in a move that will further worsen inequality?
Personally, I have trouble understanding how cutting the cost of a holiday in Florida or Australia boosts the Scottish economy.
Would a better way to boost tourism in Scotland not be to ensure councils have the money they need to maintain basic infrastructure. What must tourists think when they see the result of SNP cuts in our capital city?
We don’t see overflowing bins, cratered roads and pavements overgrown with weeds on postcards, but I’m sure they feature in conversations when tourists return home.
Cllr Dr Scott Arthur, Colinton/Fairmilehead ward
Spend Air Passenger Duty on education
Gordon MacDonald, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, tells us the actions of his party, by intending to reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50%, could result in ‘possible increases in aviation emissions’ (News, June 21).
Possible? Mr MacDonald seems to hope for increases in two years of 900,000 additional passengers through Edinburgh Airport. I’d suggest there’s no ‘possible’ about it, unless the SNP are now climate change deniers?
Plus, I presume Mr MacDonald is aware Edinburgh Airport has just been named fifth worst airport in the world, according to a recent survey - is it capable of handling such a massive increase in throughout? Mr MacDonald rather shoots himself in the foot by telling us about the ongoing growth in new routes to and from Edinburgh - then why the need to use taxpayers’ cash to grow passenger numbers even more steeply?
And is this tax giveaway to the middle classes on weekend minibreaks really the best way to spend our money? Our hard-pressed schools and hospitals spring to mind as better candidates. Plus the tax on European flights is not anyway a massive amount - will locals or European visitors even notice?
Even Greens co-convener, Patrick Harvie, not one routinely to criticise the SNP, has strongly condemned this nationalist proposal as creating significant environmental damage.
The weak pound will result in more overseas visitors arriving at British airports than this SNP tax give-away. Surely the reality is that this pointless tax cut is, as with much of what the SNP does, designed, plainly and simply to create an unnecessary difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK?
Martin Redfern, Merchiston Gardens, Edinburgh