The First Minister of Wales has again written to the Prime Minister, with the support of prominent business leaders, urging the UK Government to devolve Air Passenger Duty (APD) to Wales.
According to new, independent analysis, devolving and then reducing APD in Wales would directly result in a significant boost for the economies of both South Wales and the South West of England.
And a meeting with influential business leaders earlier this month showed that support for this move from prominent figures in the aviation, tourism and business sectors in Wales is unanimous.
The UK government has previously said that devolving APD to Wales would cause “unjustifiable disadvantages to Bristol [airport]” and would not be in the interests of passengers in those areas.
However, APD is already devolved to Northern Ireland and UK Minister’s have also given the same commitment to Scotland.
The Welsh Government argues that the UK government’s reluctance to devolve APD continues to place unjustifiable constraints on Wales’ ability to promote itself abroad and is hindering growth in its aviation sector and wider economy.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
“With APD already devolved to Northern Ireland and the commitment given to devolve APD to Scotland, the UK government’s refusal to move on this issue is undermining our economic position compared to our colleagues in other devolved administrations.
“Following publication of independent analysis on the devolution of APD to Wales, we recently held a meeting with prominent figures in the aviation, tourism and business sectors in Wales to discuss this new evidence. That meeting showed that support for the devolution of APD is unanimous, with it being broadly viewed as a move that will help ensure Wales is open for business across international borders.
“The meeting also showed that there is a widely held view that APD is negatively affecting businesses within our economy and its reduction or removal would be a stimulus to enable competition and increase growth.
“I have made clear that if APD was devolved I would reduce it in Wales, a move that I am confident would better connect Wales with transport and business hubs and act as a huge stimulus for business and investment.
“The UK government gave a clear commitment to review any new evidence - I call on them again to act in the interests of Wales on this important matter.”