ABTA is calling on people to write to their MPs and sign an online No. 10 e-petition to stop the Government drastically increasing taxes on long haul flights later this year.

The association says this will have a dramatic effect on the cost of flying to the Caribbean potentially putting visiting friends and family out of reach when people are already feeling the pinch financially.

Currently if you fly economy to the Caribbean you pay the Government £40 for the privilege. From 1 November 2009 this goes up to £50 and from 1 November 2010 to £75, the flying poll tax being called Air Passenger Duty [APD].

This means a family of four going over to visit friends and relatives will pay £200 in tax this year and a whopping £300 in 2011. If you have paid for a little extra legroom in premium economy you will pay double these amounts.

Earlier this year the Dutch Government ditched a similar tax on the grounds that the damage it caused their economy vastly outweighed the money going into Government coffers. The British Government is now backtracking on claims that APD is a green tax as already the £2 billion pounds raised each year is much greater than the cost of environmental damage caused by flying. UK airlines will be joining the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme in 2012 a much fairer and more efficient way of addressing environmental concerns.

Mark Tanzer ABTA CEO said: “These APD increases will have a terrible impact on the cost of flying to see family and other loved ones both going to and coming from the Caribbean. They will also discourage tourists from visiting the islands with potentially devastating effects on local economies at an already difficult economic time”.

The Government estimates that APD will discourage up to 1.4 million people from flying to and from the UK. The e-petition calling on the Government to rethink these increases can be accessed at www.abta.com

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