“Clegg’s Speech Misjudges Public Attitude to Aviation Taxes”

Simon Buck, Chief Executive of BATA has commented on the speech given today by the Deputy Prime Minister which was on the subject of tax.

BATA: “Clegg’s Speech Misjudges Public Attitude to Aviation Taxes”

Commenting on the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech to the Resolution Foundation on cutting taxation, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association, said:

“It’s all very well for Nick Clegg to talk about cutting tax for the poor and looking at ways to make the tax system “more green” but his aspirations do not square with the Government’s actions and its own findings on public attitudes. For example, this Government is choosing to make an annual sunshine holiday less affordable for many hard pressed families by imposing the highest taxes on flying in the world and will increase the tax even further from 1st April. Bizarrely, the Deputy PM’s remarks are made on the same day as the Government publishes its own survey, showing that most people are opposed to “push” measures that would affect them financially such as higher taxes aimed at discouraging air travel. If there were annual awards for lacking in joined up thinking, this Government would win hands down.”

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“Consultation on New Airport for London” – BATA Comment

BATA has responded to media reports today (18th January) that the Government is soon to announce a consultation on plans for a new London airport.

“Consultation on New Airport for London” – BATA Comment

Commenting on media reports today that the Government is soon to announce a consultation on plans for a new London airport, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA) said:

“The Government needs to maintain and build UK connectivity to emerging markets through permitting privately funded additional extra airport capacity where it is most needed and demand is greatest – in the South East of England. Without this, the competiveness of the UK economy will continue to be eroded and jobs will be lost.”

BATA Comment on Government Approval for High Speed 2

BATA’s response to the expected go-ahead from the Government for the High Speed 2 line from London to Birmingham is available here.

BATA Response to High Speed 2 Announcement

Responding to the news that the Government is set to give the go-ahead to the £17 billion HS2 line from London to Birmingham, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“While this Government appears to recognise the value of investment in public infrastructure to improve domestic transport links, we deplore the absence of any similar commitment to boosting Britain’s links with the rest of the world. The Government appears eager to invest over £30 billion in building new railway lines in grandiose show-case schemes, cutting huge swathes through the English countryside, but at the same time has vetoed airport expansion where it is desperately needed because they say the environmental cost is too high. Despite its cost, HS2 will do nothing to improve the UK’s connectivity with the rest of the world or domestically, with more remote parts of the UK that will never be connected to high speed rail, such as Northern Ireland.

Our major airports are currently losing out on air routes and hence new business and jobs to our international competitors because they do not currently have the runway capacity needed to add in new services. New runway capacity would be privately funded and would not require public money, thus representing far better value for money than a hugely expensive new rail project. If the Government wants to kick start the UK economy, Ministers must break out of their “Little Britain” approach to transport infrastructure provision and recognise that the UK needs to develop its trading links to the growing economies of the world.”

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European Court Ruling on ETS – BATA Response

BATA has responded to the EU Court of Justice ruling today (21st December) on the legality of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as it applies to aviation.

BATA Response to Court of Justice Ruling on Emissions Trading Scheme

Commenting on the ruling today by the Court of Justice of the EU about the legality of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Simon Buck, Chief of Executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA) said:

“UK airlines have consistently supported the introduction of EU ETS as the first step in the development of a global emissions trading scheme. However the world’s politicians have failed to agree to such a global system. BATA notes the decision of the Court of Justice but remains concerned at the growing signs that including aviation in the EU ETS could lead to a damaging trade war that is in no one’s interests. We look to the UK Government to ensure that UK airlines are not subject to retaliatory actions from States that are opposed to the inclusion of aviation within the EU ETS.”

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BATA Response to HM Treasury Announcement on Air Passenger Duty

BATA has responded to the Treasury announcement today on Air Passenger Duty (APD) by saying, “the result of the continued imposition of this tax is that Britain will lose tourist revenue from overseas, will lose inward investment from foreign business and lose British jobs.”

BATA Response to HM Treasury APD Announcement

Commenting on the announcements made by HM Treasury today about Air Passenger Duty (APD) Simon Buck, Chief of Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“Despite the chorus of voices united against the highest rates of taxation on flying in the world, today’s announcement by the Treasury still leaves Britain’s hard pressed families facing a double inflation increase in the tax from next April.

Rather than carrying out consultations such as this, the Government should have funded an independent study of the effect of Air Passenger Duty on Britain’s tourism industry and on the national and regional economies of the UK. The Government claims to support tourism and inward investment but is in effect damaging both through a bizarre combination of high taxation and bureaucracy.

The result of the continued imposition of this tax is that Britain will lose tourist revenue from overseas, will lose inward investment from foreign business and lose British jobs.”

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“Don’t Like It!” – BATA accuses George Osborne of a “Little Britain” approach to UK infrastructure provision

BATA Chief Executive Simon Buck has commented on the reports that the Chancellor will announce details of a National Infrastructure Plan, involving billions of pounds of investment in transport links, as part of the Autumn Statement tomorrow (29th November).

“Don’t like it!!” – BATA accuses George Osborne of a “Little Britain” approach to UK infrastructure provision

Commenting on the reports that the Chancellor will announce details of a National Infrastructure Plan, involving billions of pounds of investment in transport links, as part of tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“The Chancellor clearly recognises the importance of modern, efficient, national transport infrastructure to facilitate growth and investment in the wider economy but is ignoring a critical area of infrastructure provision so desperately needed if Britain is to maintain its international competitiveness and global trading links.

British business is crying out for the Government to permit airport expansion, especially in the capacity constrained south-east. If Britain is to be able to win new business from the world’s emerging markets then we must be allowed to grow and invest private capital in our airport infrastructure in order that we can offer direct air links where we are losing ground to our Continental competitors.

At a time when the UK is suffering arguably its worse ever economic recession and the highest levels of unemployment in seventeen years, we can ill afford continued indecision from Government on new airport capacity. Airport investment has the added benefit of being private investment for the future of the public good at little or no cost to the taxpayer. But by ruling out the construction of new runways where extra capacity is urgently needed, the Government has put at risk Britain’s ability to win business with new emerging world economies because we do not have the air services with them that we so desperately need.

Approval of privately funded airport expansion would represent excellent value for UK plc especially where approval has already been given by the previous government following a long period of consultation where all the evidence for and against was fully considered. At a time of economic crisis, it is decisions we need, not yet more consultation. Successive UK Governments have been consulting on the future of aviation and new runway capacity for decades. Instead we need a Government able to grasp the nettle and take bold decisions if we are not to damage permanently our economic prospects.

There is an urgent need for the Government to reassess its priorities and we cannot afford to wait another two years before its new aviation policy is unveiled. Otherwise, with competitors such as Germany, which has just added a fourth runway at its main hub airport of Frankfurt, the UK risks losing out in attracting new international investment and business.

Constraining growth at Britain’s airports costs the UK economy over £1 billion per year and puts many thousands of UK jobs at risk. Ministers need to wake-up from their “Little Britain” obsession with planning hugely expensive, publicly funded national railway and road schemes in isolation from our international links and recognise the urgent need to permit privately funded investment at our overcrowded airports in order for the UK to compete for business with the rest of the world.”

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BATA Reaction to speech by Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Following the speech today by Maria Eagle MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, to an aviation conference in London, BATA has issued a comment.

BATA Comment on Speech by Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Commenting on the speech today by Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Simon Buck, the Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association, said:

“We welcome the recognition that the UK needs a long-term aviation policy that can provide both an immediate and longer term solution to the capacity problem in the South East of England.

We also warmly welcome the concept of a cross-party approach as suggested by the Shadow Secretary of State and believe this would help tackle the damaging „stop go‟ aviation policies adopted by successive governments. Agreement is urgently needed on how to tackle the chronic shortage of capacity in the South East of England. Today the Prime Minister is talking about an “all-out mission” to kick start infrastructure projects; new airport capacity is privately funded and would cost the Treasury nothing while yielding huge dividends for UK connectivity, boosting the economy and creating new jobs.”

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Comment on Aviation Report By British Chambers of Commerce

BATA’s comment on the publication today of the BCC Report, ‘Flying in the face of jobs and growth’ is available here. In it, Simon Buck, BATA’s Chief Executive says, “This report provides clear evidence that if Britain us to be able to compete for new business with emerging markets, then we must be allowed to grow and invest in our airport infrastructure.”

BATA Comment on Aviation Policy Report From British Chambers of Commerce

Commenting on the publication of ‘Flying in the face of jobs and growth’, a report published today (31st October) by the British Chambers of Commerce (BAA), Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“This report by the BCC provides clear evidence that if Britain is to be able to compete for new business with emerging markets then we must be allowed to grow and invest in our airport infrastructure.

Britain is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, suffering from anaemic growth and the highest rate of unemployment in seventeen years. There is an urgent need for the Government to reassess its priorities and we cannot afford to wait another two years before its new aviation policy is unveiled. Otherwise, with competitors such as Germany, which has just added a fourth runway at its main hub airport of Frankfurt, the UK risks losing out in attracting new international investment and business.”

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UK Government ‘Stop/Go’ Aviation Policies “Crippling Trade Links”: BATA

To coincide with the closure of the Government’s initial ‘Scoping Document’ consultation on a ‘Sustainable Policy Framework for Aviation’, BATA has issued a statement, urging the new Secretary of State of Transport to recognise that decisions need  to be made now on increasing capacity for air transport.

BATA DENOUNCES SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENT AVIATION “STOP/GO” POLICIES AS CRIPPLING BRITAIN’S TRADE LINKS WITH THE WORLD

To coincide with the closure of the Government‟s initial „Scoping Document‟ consultation on a „Sustainable Policy Framework for Aviation‟, Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association said:

“Well into the Coalition‟s term of government, we are only at the first stage of having any sort of aviation policy for Britain.

At a time when the UK is suffering arguably its worse ever economic recession and the highest levels of unemployment in seventeen years, we can ill afford continued indecision from Government on permitting private investment for the future of the public good.

We need firm action to rebalance the economy. By refusing permission to airports to construct new infrastructure where new capacity is urgently needed, the Government is putting at risk Britain‟s ability to win business with new emerging world economies because we do not have the air services with them that we so desperately need.

Approval of privately funded airport expansion would represent excellent value for UK plc especially where approval has already been given by the previous government following a long period of consultation where all the evidence for and against was fully considered. At a time of economic crisis, it‟s decisions we need, not further consultation. Successive Governments have been consulting on the future of aviation and new runway capacity for decades. Instead we need a Government able to grasp the nettle and take a bold decision if we are not to damage permanently our economic prospects. I urge the new Secretary of State to recognise that further procrastination will cost Britain dearly in terms of lost business and jobs.”

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Speech by BATA Chief Executive at Parliamentary Reception – 18th October

The speech by Simon Buck, Chief Executive of BATA, at a BATA Parliamentary Reception hosted by Brian Donohoe MP on Tuesday 18th October.

Speech by Simon Buck, Chief Executive of the British Air Transport Association at a Reception hosted by Brian Donohoe MP and held in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 18th October 2011.

THANK YOU BRIAN AND MAY I ADD MY WELCOME ON BEHALF OF BATA TO MEMBERS OF BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, BATA MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES AND OUR OTHER GUESTS, ALL OF WHOM WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO HAVE WITH US TODAY?

MY NAME IS SIMON BUCK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRITISH AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION (OTHERWISE KNOWN AS BATA) AND IT IS A PLEASURE TO SEE YOU ALL TODAY. FIRSTLY, MAY I THANK YOU BRIAN FOR VERY KINDLY HOSTING THIS RECEPTION FOR US TODAY AND FOR YOUR OPENING WORDS.

SECONDLY, I’M DELIGHTED THAT ANDREW STRONG, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF FLYBE UK IS HERE WITH US TODAY. ANDREW IS HERE IN PLACE OF OUR ADVERTISED SPEAKER JIM FRENCH WHO, REGRETTABLY, CANNOT JOIN US TODAY. I AM ALSO DELIGHTED TO WELCOME JAMES RAMSBOTHAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE NORTH-EAST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. BOTH ANDREW AND JAMES WILL BE SPEAKING TO YOU IN A MOMENT OR TWO.

BUT BEFORE THAT, I’D LIKE TO SAY JUST A FEW WORDS ABOUT BATA AND ABOUT THE THEME OF TODAY’S RECEPTION – THE IMPORTANCE OF AVIATION TO THE NATIONS AND REGIONS OF THE UK AND THE KEY ROLE THAT AVIATION PLAYS IN THE UK ECONOMY.

BATA IS THE TRADE BODY FOR UK-REGISTERED AIRLINES, WITH MEMBERS REPRESENTING ALL SECTORS OF THE INDUSTRY, SCHEDULED, CHARTER, LOW-COST, REGIONAL AND CARGO. BATA MEMBERS DIRECTLY EMPLOY OVER 71,000 PEOPLE, OPERATE OVER FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE UK COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT FLEET AND ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME 96% OF UK AIRLINE OUTPUT, CARRYING 119 MILLION PASSENGERS AND 1 MILLION TONNES OF CARGO EACH YEAR.

AVIATION PLAYS A CRUCIAL ROLE PROVIDING INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIVITY FOR OUR ISLAND NATION. DOMESTIC AIR LINKS ALSO FULFIL AN ESSENTIAL ROLE FOR THE REMOTER PARTS OF THE UK REGIONS – IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT ABOUT 85% OF THESE AIR ROUTES ARE EITHER OVER WATER OR SIMPLY ECONOMICALLY UNVIABLE FOR SUBSTITUTION BY HIGH SPEED RAIL.

AIRPORTS PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN EVERY REGION OF THE UK SERVING AS A MAGNET FOR BUSINESS, PROVIDING REGIONAL CONNECTIONS BOTH NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. IT IS GOOD THAT THIS IS RECOGNISED BY MANY SENIOR POLITICIANS FROM BOTH COALITION PARTIES AND IN OPPOSITION, MANY OF WHOM ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN TO RETAIN AIR LINKS TO LONDON. BUT PERHAPS CRUCIALLY AT A TIME WHEN THE UK IS SUFFERING THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF UNEMPLOYMENT FOR 17 YEARS, AVIATION SUPPORTS NEARLY ONE MILLION JOBS IN TOURISM, ENGINEERING AND SUPPLIER INDUSTRIES SPREAD ACROSS THE UK NATIONS AND REGIONS.

TOURISM IS OF COURSE ONE OF THE LEADING INDUSTRIES IN THE WORLD. MANY COUNTRIES BOTH WITHIN AND BEYOND THE EU RELY HEAVILY ON TOURISM REVENUES – INDEED IT IS THE KEY INDUSTRY IN MANY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND UK RESIDENTS HOLIDAYING OVERSEAS HELP SUPPORT NOT ONLY UK JOBS WITHIN THE UK OUTBOUND TRAVEL INDUSTRY BUT ALSO THE LIVELIHOOD OF MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES EVERY YEAR. IN FACT TOURISM IS THE UK’S THIRD HIGHEST EXPORT EARNER AND WILL PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN REBALANCING OUR ECONOMY. ABOUT THREE OUT OF FOUR OVERSEAS VISITORS COME TO THE UK BY AIR – FOR MANY, OF COURSE, IT’S THE ONLY PRACTICAL WAY OF GETTING TO OUR ISLAND NATION OFF THE NORTH COAST OF THE EUOPEAN CONTINENT. EQUALLY AVIATION FULFILS AN ESSENTIAL ROLE FOR CONNECTIVITY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR MANY BRITISH RESIDENTS NOT BORN IN THE UK. HOWEVER, THE TAX ON FLYING, KNOWN AS AIR PASSENGER DUTY, HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. OVER THE SAME TIME, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF VISITORS TO BRITAIN HAS FALLEN BY 2 MILLION AND OUR EUROPEAN COMPETITORS ARE NOW GROWING THEIR TOURIST NUMBERS AT OUR EXPENSE.

WE ALL RECOGNISE THE IMPORTANCE OF REDUCING THE PUBLIC DEBT AND THAT WE MUST ALL PLAY OUR PART IN THAT, BUT MANY IN THE UK TOURISM INDUSTRY HAVE FIRM EVIDENCE THAT THE BRITISH ECONOMY WOULD BE BETTER SERVED BY THE CHANCELLOR TAKING POSITIVE STEPS TO REDUCE APD TO BOOST TOURIST NUMBERS. RESEARCH BY THE TOURISM ALLIANCE SUGGESTS THAT APD SUPPRESSES THE UK’S TOURISM EARNINGS BY APPROXIMATELY 6% – THIS REPRESENTS OVER £1 BILLION PER ANNUM. MORE IMPORTANTLY PERHAPS, AT THE CURRENT TIME, THIS LOSS OF REVENUE COSTS THE UK 25,000 JOBS.

I’M PLEASED THE CHANCELLOR HAS RECOGNISED THE DAMAGE THAT APD IS DOING TO TOURISM IN NORTHERN IRLEAND AND HAS REDUCED THE LEVEL OF APD TAX ON LONG HAUL FLIGHTS THERE. BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER AREAS OF THE UK THAT ARE SUFFERING SIMILARLY AND THE MESSAGE IS SIMPLE. THE TAX IS COUNTER PRODUCTIVE AND DAMAGING TO BRITAIN’S INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS.

THE CHANCELLOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT THE TAX WILL RISE BY TWICE THE RATE OF INFLATION NEXT YEAR WILL DO NOTHING TO MAKE THE UK A MORE AFFORDABLE PLACE TO VISIT OR BOOST OUR FALTERING TOURIST NUMBERS. APD ALREADY RAISES MORE THAN THE TAX ON THE BANKS KNOWN AS THE BANK LEVY AND WILL COST

AIR TRAVELLERS OVER £15 BILLION THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. WE URGE HIM TO LISTEN TO THE FAIR TAX ON FLYING CAMPAIGN, IN WHICH BATA PLAYS A KEY PART, AND RECONSIDER THIS DECISION – ESPECIALLY IN THE LIGHT OF AVIATION ENTERING THE EU EMISSIONS TRADING SCHEME FROM 1st JANUARY NEXT YEAR. ETS WILL OFFER A FAR SMARTER WAY OF ADDRESSING AVIATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT THAN A BLUNT TAX THAT SIMPLY MAKES THE UK UNCOMPETITIVE AND INCREASINGLY UNAFFORDABLE BOTH FOR BUSINESS AND TOURISM ALIKE.

WE THEREFORE URGE THE CHANCELLOR TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE SET BY THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT THAT HAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED IT WILL BE REDUCING ITS AIR TICKET TAX, ALREADY MUCH LOWER THAN THE UK APD, TO COMPENSATE FOR THE ADDITIONAL COSTS AIRLINES WILL EXPERIENCE WITH THE ACCESSION OF AVIATION TO THE EU ETS.

TODAY, ON BEHALF OF THE FAIR TAX ON FLYING CAMPAIGN, I INVITE PARLIAMENTARIANS TO SIGN A LETTER TO THE CHANCELLOR CALLING FOR NEXT YEAR’S PLANNED DOUBLE INFLATION INCREASES IN APD TO BE ABANDONED IN ORDER TO AVOID SERIOUSLY DAMAGING BRITIAIN’S TOURISM INDUSTRY IN THE LONG TERM AND PRISING ORDINARY, WORKING FAMILIES OUT OF AN ANNUAL SUNSHINE HOLIDAY. A COPY OF THE LETTER IS BY THE DOOR WITH MY COLLEAGUE JOSETTE.

I AM PLEASED THAT REPRESENTATIVES OF BATA MEMBER AIRLINES AND BATA ASSOCIATE MEMBERS ARE HERE TODAY TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT ANY ISSUES OR MATTERS YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS WITH THEM, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PUT THEM ON THE SPOT!