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Lack of evidence on ministers' air tax proposals, MSPs report

4 April 2017

MSPs have backed the general principles of the Scottish Government’s Air Departure Tax (ADT) Bill, but have raised concerns over the lack of evidence provided by ministers to support their proposals.

In its stage 1 report on the bill, Holyrood's Finance & Constitution Committee calls for the Government to produce supporting evidence on the economic, social, financial and environmental impacts of the bill, which is intended to replace air passenger duty in Scotland.

Dissenting, Green MSP Patrick Harvie does not believe the bill should proceed.

The report says the evidence must be made available to the Parliament before MSPs are asked to set the tax rates and bands for flights departing from Scottish airports. It also recommends that the Finance Minister commissions an independent economic impact analysis on the Government’s proposed policy of a 50% reduction in AD tax by the end of the parliamentary session.

Committee convener Bruce Crawford MSP commented: "The Finance Committee recognises that the Air Departure Tax Bill is an enabling bill.

“Nevertheless, we are disappointed by the Government’s lack of information on exemptions to the tax, and on the economic, social, financial and environmental impacts that will result from a 50% reduction in ADT.

“The committee considers it essential, therefore, that evidence of these impacts, to support the Government’s policy approach, must be made available in good time to allow for parliamentary scrutiny.

“The Finance Committee will consider such evidence carefully when it comes to setting the first tax rates and bands under ADT. In the meantime, we support the general principles of the bill.”

Click here to access the committee's report.

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