This morning in Welsh Questions I took the opportunity to ask Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, a question about devolving responsibility for Air Passenger Duty to the Welsh Government.
Air Passenger Duty is paid by passengers as part of their flight ticket when they fly from the UK, and currently the rate (how much tax must be paid) is set by the UK Government and is the same for all departure airports.
Following the Welsh Government’s purchase of Cardiff Airport, there has been a campaign to devolve decisions on Air Passenger Duty to Wales. This would mean the levels of duty could be set for Wales separately from the rest of the UK and, for example, rates could be reduced on certain types of flights in order to encourage airlines to offer routes from Wales rather than just from London, building our national airport’s capacity.
This in turn would be a significant improvement for Welsh travellers who would be able to travel straight from Wales to global destinations.
This morning I asked the Secretary of State:
“Air Passenger Duty has already been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and is shortly to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but despite this the budget did not propose that it be devolved to the Welsh Assembly. Will the Secretary of State support devolution of Air Passenger Duty and if not, why not?”
He would not commit to supporting devolution of Air Passenger Duty, and said it was a matter for the Chancellor. I appreciate his response but I will make sure this matter is not forgotten.