An opposition legislator is asking the British government to pay attention to the concerns being raised against the high Air Passenger Duty (APD), which he described as the highest in the world.
Labour Party MP for Central Ayrshire, Brian Donohoe, who is also chair of the Aviation All Party Parliamentary Group, said he has written many times on the tax that was almost unheard of just four years ago.
APD is now gaining something of a cult status as one of the UK's least-liked stealth taxes, he said.
Donohoe said that over the past eight weeks, the A Fair Tax on Flying campaign, involving a broad cross-section of airport, airline and tourism organisations, has highlighted the high levels of APD passengers pay, and encouraged the public to lobby their parliamentary representatives on this issue.
He said more than 100,000 people have emailed their members of parliament raising their concerns about APD and telling parliamentarians that the tax is now too high.
I have received well over one hundred emails from constituents about APD. And I know that many of my parliamentary colleagues have received many more, including both Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Donohoe said.
I wholeheartedly support the objectives of the A Fair Tax on Flying campaign, and I am delighted it has been able to mobilise voters on this issue, he said.
Those constituents who are backing the campaign are calling for an independent review of APD and its impacts on the wider economy. I support these proposals not only for the UK economy but also for my local economy; and I hope that my colleagues in Westminster can help support this aim, said Donohoe,
Caribbean governments have been lobbying London to remove the tax, which they said negatively affect the growth of the tourism industry since the Caribbean has been placed in a band that makes travel to the region much more expensive than travelling from London to the United States.
The APD, instituted in 1994, is a British environmental tax aimed at offsetting aviation's carbon footprint. In its initial stage, it was set at £5 (US$7.85) per person.
But Donohoe said the APD is no longer cited as an environmental tax, so the case for it becomes even more uncertain, especially as aviation entered the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in January of this year.
The Labour MP said that in responses to his call to deal with the APD, he has received from the Treasury correspondence in which they say that it makes a valuable contribution to the public purse, especially during this period of austerity.
But what we need is a real long-term plan for jobs and growth from this government. Aviation can help deliver this thorough increased connectivity to emerging economies like China and India, but we are at a competitive disadvantage compared to our European counterparts, which levy much lower rates of air passenger tax.
Donohoe said that for 100,000 people to have written to MPs to make their voice heard is an astonishing show of opposition to the current levels of APD and concern about the impact they are having on both ordinary families and on the economy. He added: I will continue to back this campaign over the coming months.