Kirk calls for rethink on proposals to reform air travel tax

Image courtesy of Vasile Cotovanu

The Scottish Government has been urged to reconsider plans to reduce and eventually abolish Air Passenger Duty. (APD)

The Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland believes that the move is inconsistent with a government commitment to tackle climate change.

The Kirk has expressed its views in a response to a consultation on how a new tax to replace APD should be structured and operate to meet the government's aspiration of boosting international air connectivity.

The Church of Scotland has expressed concern about the impact of APD on the basis of its environmental concern for God's creation.

It is disappointed by the Scottish Government's proposals on three grounds.

  1. We believe they are inconsistent with Scottish Government commitments to reduce Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions
  2. They promote inequality - those on high incomes fly most and will benefit most while those living in poverty fly least and will benefit least, if at all
  3. They put pressure on the UK Government to follow suit - pressure that will be amplified by the airline industry and which could lead to UK wide changes to APD.

Tarnish good work

The Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: "The Church of Scotland wants an economy in Scotland that puts the needs of the poor first and does not contribute further to the dreadful impacts of climate change.

"We recognise that the Scottish Government shares these ambitions so are disappointed that this proposal to cut Air Passenger Duty seems to fly in the face of both.

"We call upon the Scottish Government to think again and consider how these proposals may tarnish the good work they are doing elsewhere."

A deliverance passed by the General Assembly of 2009 states: "The Church of Scotland is concerned that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth and that climate change represents a failure in our stewardship of God's creation.

"We accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change; and to promote a more equitable and sustainable use of energy."