News In Focus
Air Departure Tax Bill passes final stage
The bill to replace air passenger duty in Scotland passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
MSPs approved the Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill following the stage 3 debate by 108 votes to 11, with Green and Liberal Democrat members voting against.
The bill sets the structure of the new tax and how it will be collected and managed by Revenue Scotland. Detail on tax bands and tax rate amounts will be set out in secondary legislation in the autumn, as part of the Scottish Government’s budget process and alongside other devolved taxes.
The real controversy is likely to come at the point of setting the tax rates. The SNP Government wants to reduce the present rate by half, to provide a boost to the economy, but opposition parties claim this will go against emissions reduction targets and simply provide tax breaks for the airline industry.
MSPs who opposed the bill argued that there was still time to bring in a measure, ahead of the tax raising power transferring to Holyrood next April, that would properly set out the structure of the new tax.
An independent economic assessment of the overall 50% reduction plans will be published in the autumn, when the tax band and tax rate amounts proposals will also be set out. The Scottish Government is already undertaking a range of environmental assessments, the results of which will also be published.