Devolving Air Passenger Duty is long overdue, says Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

On Tuesday night the Welsh Assembly backed a motion that would call on UK Government to devolve Air Passenger Duty to Wales by 2021 – a move that Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth said would help find ways to optimise the Welsh Economy.

Air Passenger Duty was introduced in 1994 and is a tax charged by airlines on all economy flights that leave the UK – APD is part of your ticket price and airlines pass the tax onto the Government.

A report published last month by the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee recommended that the UK Government fully devolve control over APD to Cardiff Bay by 2021 and yesterday Plaid Cymru, the Labour Welsh Government and the Conservatives jointly tabled a motion to call on Westminster to make sure these powers are devolved in line with the Committee’s recommendations.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“In a situation where Scotland already has seen APD devolved, when Northern Ireland has APD devolved, it seems to me that the barriers are there to stop Wales in some way gaining that kind of advantage that could come from the devolution of something that is very much in the spirit of devolution and a proposal that has been made now in a number of highly respected reports.

“There is no strong evidence to suggest that Bristol would be at a disadvantage—but it would be advantageous to Cardiff … and not just Cardiff Airport, but Anglesey Airport in my constituency. We should be looking at this in the round.

“So, let us today make that statement that we believe the time is not just right, but is overdue for us to take this step. It is in our interests as we look for ways of optimising the Welsh economy. It is not about trying to disadvantage others.”