Call to scrap Air Passenger Tax in the North
Sinn Féin Tourism Spokesperson Phil Flanagan has called on Finance Minister Simon Hamilton to urgently press for abolition of Air Passenger Duty (APD) with the scrapping of the tax by Dublin from today April 1st.
Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, said:
"We now face a situation whereby airline passengers departing from most of the island's airports will pay no travel tax at all, but in the case of the North's three airports, a punitive rate of taxation still exists.
"This particularly impacts on business visitors and tourists flying regularly to and from Britain where a rate of £12 per flight applies, which often is higher than the cost of the flight itself.
"Urgent action is required to address this imbalance and to stimulate the local tourism sector. Abolishing APD would give an economic stimulus to the tourism sector and lead to increased employment.
"The charging of air passenger duty is only one of a number of barriers to growing our tourism sector; customers here also face a much higher rate of VAT on accommodation and hospitality compared with the rest of Ireland.
"DUP politicians need to accept that economic and fiscal policies designed in the interests of the south east of England are not serving our people or our economy well.
"They should stop prevaricating when it comes to transfer of economic levers that would clearly be of benefit to our economy.
"They should join with the rest of us who are working to kick start economic recovery by seeking to secure the maximum fiscal responsibilities being transferred to locally elected representatives."