It is a surprising and shocking fact. Airlines pay no VAT. And it gets worse. There is no tax on aviation fuel. So, at a time when VAT has gone up to 20% and petrol is so pricy that motorists are nicking it from filling stations, one of the noisiest and dirtiest industries in the world is getting away scot-free.
We are in Oxford Street on Saturday to do something about it. Watch out for us! We’ll be doing something fun at the aviastion industry’s expense.
The tax-breaks cost the country a fortune. Around £9 billion a year. That’s over 20% of the cuts the coalition Government is looking to make.
Of course the aviation industry does pay some tax. It complains loud and long about the rate of Air Passenger Duty. But let’s look at the facts. The total revenue from air passenger duty in 2011-12 is forecast at £3 billion. The Treasury estimated in October 2009 that the loss of revenue as a result of no fuel tax and no VAT on airlines was at least £10 billion a year. With the increase in fuel tax and VAT since then, the figure must now be around £12 billion. To achieve fair tax with motorists, air passenger duty would need to be quadrupled!
And the big winners from these tax breaks are the rich. Not the poor who hardly fly in comparison. Not even the middle-income families who scrape money together for the occasional trip abroad. It is the top 10% of income earners who gain most – the people who fly abroad on average 6 or 7 times a year. The people who fly to Paris for lunch, to Portugal for a weekend of golf or to their second home nestling amongst the expensive villas of Nice or Monte Carlo.
Just think what £9 billion each year could buy for poor communities. Good sound insulation in social housing. A nationwide programme of disability access. Decent bus services. More affordable train services.
The list could go on and on. Make no mistake about it. The aviation industry is stealing from the nation. On a scale the great train robbers could only have dreamt about. Let’s steal it back from them. TakeVAT!
Watch out for us on Oxford Street on Saturday! TakeVAT!