"We're all in this together" sounds more hollow the more you tap it. Back in March, the chancellor George Osborne announced that passengers on private jets would have to pay the same air passenger duty (APD) the rest of us do. "The wealthiest should not escape the tax the ordinary holidaymaker has to pay," trumpeted Osborne through a rolled-up copy of the Socialist Worker. Except that now Osborne has announced this week that the so-called "Learjet tax", expected to start next year, won't kick in until 2013.The excuse may seem a bit thin, but isn't it comforting to know that the Chancellor keeeps close to his heart the interests of those who can afford to hire a private plane?
Why the delay? A Treasury spokesperson says: "We had a consultation and one of the things that came out of it was there wasn't enough time for the industry to make the transition." According to the Treasury, the predicted revenue from the estimated 80,000 private flights is just £5m a year, and as Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly, a booking network for private planes, points out, it will be difficult to collect APD from thousands of small jet companies and individuals.
01 December 2011
It's the same the whole world over ...
It wasn't all brickbats, you know. Slasher Osborne found room to confer the occasional goodie, such as this one, reported in The Guardian: