Air tax hike 'would hit poorest'

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Mojo

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BBCNews said:
Raising air travel taxes would only hit poorer people, said ministers as MPs accused them of failing to stop transport that fuels global warming.

Carbon dioxide emissions from aviation are set to rise five-fold, the Commons environmental audit committee says.

It says the government has a "fatalistic" approach to the problem.

But budget airline Easyjet said the MPs' calls for higher taxes would be unfair to poor holidaymakers and fail to make planes more efficient.

The MPs say transport is the only sector of the UK economy where carbon dioxide emissions have risen consistently since 1990, including a doubling in air traffic emissions.

They are pushing for tax on air travel to be charged per flight, rather than per passenger - and be extended to cover air freight.

And passengers should have to pay to "offset" the emissions from their flight by funding green projects elsewhere.

Efficiency drive

But an Easyjet spokeswoman said: "The idea to price the most price-sensitive and less affluent customers (i.e. the poorest in society) out of the sky as the means to reduce emissions from aviation is not only a blunt and unimaginative measure - but it is also unnecessary."

Better options included reforming air traffic control and ending state aid, which often funded outdated planes, she said.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman also resisted higher passenger taxes, saying those on good wages would still be able to afford to go on holiday.

"What we need is a system which effectively taxes inefficient airlines or taxes those airlines that don't invest in the more modern aeroplanes," said Mr Ladyman.

That was why the government wanted aviation included in the European Union's emissions trading scheme, he argued.

Tax hike

Planes are not the MPs' only target. They also want bigger penalties for drivers of "gas guzzling cars".

They welcome the recent introduction of variable Vehicle Excise Duty, which means that the lowest-carbon cars pay no road tax, while gas-guzzling 4x4s pay an increased rate of £210.

But they say the measure should be extended, highlighting calls for the top band to rise to £1,800.

Under the plans, lower bands would be at £300 intervals down to the least-polluting cars which would be tax-free.

The report says the purchase of zero-tax cars fell between 2004 and 2005.

It also suggests a return to the fuel tax escalator, which increased the cost of petrol above inflation to deter road usage and caused widespread protests six years ago.

Road tax hikes

Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: "Unless the Department for Transport raises its game, transport will go on rising so fast - and particularly aircraft - that almost anything else we do is going to be really useless."

He said the variable road tax introduced by the government barely amounted to the cost of filling a fuel tank, he argued.

Mr Ladyman said the government did not "rule out doing more in the future" on the tax levels.

But he was not sure that measure would deter people from buying gas guzzlers when they were already prepared to pay thousands of pounds for extra fuel.

He also argued that the speed limit should be based on safety and was not a cost effective way of tackling pollution.


Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne said the MPs' report backed his party's plans for using green taxes to change behaviour without raising overall taxation.
It's a shame the government has rejected another call to help clean up the faceless aviation industry.
 
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Dennis

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Also in the news in the last day or two were road pricing schemes and increasing the differentials of the variable vehicle excise duties. These schemes, along with the airport tax and the fuel tax escalator are all ways of ensuring the polluter pays - whats the problem?

Stop *anking about Lebanon and just do it Tony (after all you ain't gonna be PM next year).
 
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HR2

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Dunno how they can say that. If you are poor you can't afford to get on plane in the first place.
 

Nick W

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They haven't tried the obvious.

Run less polluting public transport for free (with a peak train/bus tax to avoid overcrowning) and double tax for polluting transport.

Air travel is currently heavily subsidised and cannot compete with rail travel. I recently flew Ryan Air to Rodez as train would have cost too much.
 

Guinness

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Air Tax Hike would be deadly for the UK Aviation industry despite Labour giving the go ahead for expanding Air Travel in the UK and would damage the economy.

Taxing everything isn't the answer. Stupid Government.
 
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HR2

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Metroland said:
I do think there is a sector of society that just goes around with their eyes shut. I get a little fed up of reading ‘Dirty, late, inefficient’ public transport, usually from people that never use it.
Well said Sir! Here in the North East [at least where I live] We have a good, and what is more, RELIABLE network. Bus usually turns up within 5 minutes if booked time and rarely do you get a cancelled bus. Frequent services to boot They are clean both inside and out except on filthy wet days when it cannot be avoided. They are warm in winter and [with windows open] cool in summer. The drivers on the whole are nice and freindly chaps [one driver is the exception who looks like his arse would fall off if he smiled] and people boarding and alighting generally give you a nod or smile in passing.

It's a PLEASURE to travel by bus here! :)
 

Tom B

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Come to Doncaster! Infrequent, unreliable services, expensive, drivers are rubbish and have their fingers in the till.... etc. Compare this to the old SYT network we used to have, when it was PUBLICALLY owned, run for the PUBLIC. Much better.
 

Angus

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Interesting debate. I think that the huge boom in low-cost airlines has been a catastrophe both for the environment and the aviation industry - far more people travel by air today than say 20 or 30 years ago - simply because most couldn't afford to before. But these extra passenger numbers have only put money in the pockets of the increasingly-ruthless airlines, whilst screwing the environment, the rest of the industry (and pretty much everyone else except the airlines and the passengers themselves). I don't think raising taxes would do much to drastically change things (unless they went up massively) as air travel is so cheap today and some would argue will become even cheaper in real terms if things stay as they are (Michael O'Leary of Ryanair said recently that he predicts free air travel in the future).

Personally I think it would be better overall (especially environmentally) if prices did go up and fewer people could afford to travel by air but I can see this being a controversial point.

Chaz said:
Air Tax Hike would be deadly for the UK Aviation industry despite Labour giving the go ahead for expanding Air Travel in the UK and would damage the economy.

Taxing everything isn't the answer. Stupid Government.
I disagree - it might be deadly for the airlines but it certainly wouldn't be for the aviation industry as a whole - there is a whole world of civil aviation outside the airlines (after all, it wasn't too long ago when GA and private flying was thriving in this country). It worries me that so many people (including the CAA) seem to think that aviation consists only of airlines (no wonder PPL licence issues are down 40% in a decade).

However I do agree with you that you can't tax everything.


HR2 said:
Well said Sir! Here in the North East [at least where I live] We have a good, and what is more, RELIABLE network. Bus usually turns up within 5 minutes if booked time and rarely do you get a cancelled bus. Frequent services to boot They are clean both inside and out except on filthy wet days when it cannot be avoided. They are warm in winter and [with windows open] cool in summer. The drivers on the whole are nice and freindly chaps [one driver is the exception who looks like his arse would fall off if he smiled] and people boarding and alighting generally give you a nod or smile in passing.

It's a PLEASURE to travel by bus here! :)
I second that - the difference between bus travel on Arriva and Go-Ahead in the North East and First in South Yorkshire is staggering.
 

313103

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Tom B said:
drivers are rubbish and have their fingers in the till....
Whilst i understand 'drivers are rubbish' (well we not all perfect).

What is meant by 'have their fingers in the till'. If its what i think it is. Have you contacted the Bus company concerned? Have you called the police out to arrest the driver who you know will 'have their fingers in the till'.
Unless you have direct evidence that this taking place it is quite an accusation to make on an a 'open' forum.

May i suggest you review and consider changing your statement, unless of course i am wrong and have barked up the wrong tree.

keith
 

Tom B

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I refer to drivers who take your money and do not issue you with a ticket. However much companies might pretend it doesn't happen, it does, I've had it happen to me often - "the machine's broken" if you challenge it. I have contacted the companies concerned who appear not to care, and have as I said myself been on such services. CCTV may be used, on the few buses where it is fitted, to check drivers are issuing the correct number of tickets.
 

Bill EWS

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Hi All,
Interesting reading but the big mistake is thinking that it would be bad for airlines to have a pollution tax added. Remember, the price you pay at the gate is all to do with the airline company and not the Government. It is the airline companies who make the decision whether to keep their profits high and their shareholders happy and if they decide YOU the customer will bear the maximum rise in fares then they are saying that YOU don't really matter. Not that we really do at present, just try getting compensation from an airline company and you might as well p--s in the wind.

Road transport hasn't disappeared or decreased because of the pollution tax and neither will the airlines, but the airlines are polluting the air on a massive scale and it is only right that they pay something towards helping to clean things up. This will happen no matter who was in Government so changing them isn't going to stop it happening. Cleaning the air and decreasing the Greenhouse affect will continue for many years, if not forever, from now on. We just have to learn to live with it.

However, on a more brighter note, I have just sent up some of my latest railway pictures to my Photopic site. I was in Aberdeen for a week or so and came across a Class 67 shunting on the Waterloo Harbour Line and also caught it at Aberdeen station and got a few other pictures of 170's, an HST and a DRS Class 66 running around it's train.

I had a great day out with the staff of the Royal Deeside Railway Group who are building a section of track out at Milton Of Crathes, near Banchory, which was on the Royal Deeside Line from Aberdeen to Ballater.

A month back I had a very nice holiday in Portland, Oregon and also got up into Washington State. I shall be putting up some photos shortly but you will find an interesting collection of Classic Cars, which we came across at the costal town of Westport, Washington ... You will find all these at:

http://billreid678.fotopic.net/

All these pictures were taken with my new Canon 350D SLR camera.

Cheers.

BillEWS.
 

Mojo

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I seem to remember reading that UK domestic flights emit a third of the aviation that cars do, which is very bad considering how many more people can be moved by cars, but emitting carbon dioxide high up is three times as worse as it is on the ground...
 
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