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Unanimous agreement of Welsh Affairs Committee: Devolve Air Passenger Duty to Wales by 2021

Unanimous agreement of Welsh Affairs Committee: Devolve Air Passenger Duty to Wales by 2021
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Cardiff Airport welcomes the report published today [Tuesday 11 June] by the Welsh Affairs Committee into the devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

The unanimously-agreed report recommends that the UK Government should hand over control of Air Passenger Duty in Wales to the Welsh Government by 2021.

Cardiff Airport has continuously reinforced its position on the matter – calling for the tax to be devolved and then reduced or abolished.

Cardiff Airport believes that the devolution and subsequent modification of APD in Wales offers a significant opportunity to create value for both the Airport and region, supporting an integrated UK aviation strategy without detrimental impact on airports across the border in England.

Devolution alone would not directly affect the Airport business however, it would offer the Welsh Government the discretion to set levels appropriately for Wales. It is the subsequent reduction or abolishment of APD, which would positively affect Cardiff Airport and the regional economy by stimulating airline activity resulting in more passengers and business growth.

Whilst Cardiff Airport recognises the responsibility of the industry to reduce its environmental impact, it acknowledges that displacing air travel to/from London airports will help reduce carbon emissions from long car journeys by keeping air travel within the region. Cardiff Airport is firmly committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has introduced a significant number of initiatives to offset emissions and improve efficiency.

Deb Barber, CEO at Cardiff Airport said, “We are delighted by the findings of the report which show the Committee agree with the strength of the compelling case to devolve APD without adversely affecting English Airports.

“Devolution allows the Welsh Government the discretion to set levels appropriately for Wales and must be balanced with environmental considerations –there is certainly an opportunity to reduce the need for long car journeys to and from English Airports by increasing flight options to and from the region.

“The recommendation must now be taken seriously by UK Government as a subsequent reduction offers a significant opportunity to create value for the region supporting an integrated UK aviation strategy. With Brexit on the horizon, the UK should seize the opportunity and take forward solutions to be more competitive, stimulate investment and encourage global connectivity.”
 

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It isnt the UK Government they have to convince...Much more the faceless Mandarins in the Treasury.I can hear the squeals of `NO` already...........sadly. The whole damn thing should be scrapped....Everywhere
 
I am surprised that they were unanimous! There was at least one MP who I'd have thought would've voted no!
The report seems to have been approved at a meeting on 4 June. At that meeting there were seven members of the committee present including the chairman. The full committee consists of ten members including the chairman. I'd be surprised if Jack Lopresti, Conservative member for Filton and Bradley Stoke on the edge of Bristol, would vote for APD devolution. He is not shown as being present at the 4 June meeting so it might be that the report was unanimously approved by the seven members who were there.

It isnt the UK Government they have to convince...Much more the faceless Mandarins in the Treasury.I can hear the squeals of `NO` already...........sadly. The whole damn thing should be scrapped....Everywhere
If APD was devolved to Wales the annual block grant from Westminster to the Welsh Government would be reduced by a corresponding amount so the UK Treasury would not suffer.

The messy quasi federal system of government we have in the UK, with three of the four constituent countries having a degree of self-determination via their devolved governments but with the fourth subject solely to Westminster but with representatives of the other three countries still having a say on purely English matters, is always going to lead to anomalies and inequities.
 
If it were devolved would anything actually change? Scotland has the power to cut APD and the government promised to do so. It's never going to happen though.
 
If it were devolved would anything actually change? Scotland has the power to cut APD and the government promised to do so. It's never going to happen though.
Not overnight but it should help the airport be more attractive to new airlines and for new routes.
With Scotland they have the power and chose not to use it but that's their choice and the WG just want to be in the same position as them
 
It will be interesting to see if the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, views APD devolution differently to his predecessors.

Sajid Javid has strong links with Bristol whose airport is the one most likely to be affected if APD is devolved to the WG. He grew up in the city and went to school there, and I believe still owns property in Bristol. Perhaps he will 'declare an interest' and leave it to one of his ministers to take the decision. Hmm!
 
It'll be interesting if there is a new Welsh secretary or not.
If Boris Johnsons new government wants to be seen to be delivering for Wales devolving long haul only might be a bit of PR for them. That's assuming they give a crap about Wales in the first place. I personally think they'll just stick to the line of not harming English airports.
Probably the best hope Wales would have of not just APD but future power's would be a Labour minority government that has an agreement with Plaid and the SNP.
 
For the short term David Davies would be a positive appointment over Alun Cairns in the Wales Office. After chairing the Welsh affairs committee that came to that conclusion, it's be very difficult for him not to actually put effort into pushing for devolution of APD!
After Cairns firmly kissed up to Johnson during the hustings in Cardiff, I sadly feel he's going to be slithering around the W.O for a bit longer.
 
It'll be interesting if there is a new Welsh secretary or not.
If Boris Johnsons new government wants to be seen to be delivering for Wales devolving long haul only might be a bit of PR for them. That's assuming they give a crap about Wales in the first place. I personally think they'll just stick to the line of not harming English airports.
Probably the best hope Wales would have of not just APD but future power's would be a Labour minority government that has an agreement with Plaid and the SNP.
That would be interesting because the SNP's price would almost certainly be another referendum on Scottish Independence which could result in a majority to leave the UK. That might lead to louder calls for Wales to go the same way.
 
On a personal note I feel the whole Welsh Assembly has been an unmitigated disaster and a vanity project for a few in the Principality.

The referendum was badly supported and won with the narrowest of margins. I would much prefer to see us go back to the Welsh Office and governance from Westminster. The money saved could then fund the creaking infrastructure and build the M4 relief road.
 
The referendum was badly supported and won with the narrowest of margins. I would much prefer to see us go back to the Welsh Office and governance from Westminster. The money saved could then fund the creaking infrastructure and build the M4 relief road.
If people don't turn out to vote that's there problem. Brexit has a narrow margin yet that's considered the will of the people. As for money saved going to build things like the M4, that won't work as it'll get siphoned for HS2. As we've seen with the APD saga with London England will always come first. The Assemblies problem isnt its existence it's its lack of powers. A US state has more governmental powers than Wales.
 
How can the Assembly be judged as a government when it has no powers of a government? Its not so much a vanity project, it's more of a case of Wales being thrown a bone so we can think we have our own representatives. But in reality all they can do is receive an allowance from london and spend it on things London allows them to spend it on. The assembly is a glorified district council for Wales. The only time it'll be fair to judge the Assembly's governance is when they have fully devolved powers over tax, energy, police and international diplomacy among the many other things every functioning government in the world has.
 
I always get the feeling with many Welsh people is that there is a belief that we can't govern ourselves so that any Welsh government will be inferior to anything else. People criticise the WG for buying and keeping the airport and investing in it whereas this happens worldwide.
I also get the feeling that many in Westminster probably feel that the Welsh aren't capable of fully governing ourselves and would if they could impose direct rule again.
 
People criticise the WG for buying and keeping the airport and investing in it whereas this happens worldwide.
That's so true, every airport except for perhaps one or two small rural ones are government owned in the USA! Airports are vital pieces of transport infrastructure, and if the burning beacon of capitalism sees no problem with their airports being state run then surely that proves their strategic economic significance?
 
What seems to be generally agreed is that governance within the UK is a mess. In order to deal with problems of the day arrangements have been put in place at various times which are often no more than sticking plasters, and sometimes create more problems for succeeding generations. For example, a form of Northern Ireland Government began in 1922 following Partition. It has taken various forms down the years with varying degrees of autonomy and powers. The devolved Scottish administration came into being 20 years ago and, in order to try to stave off the Independence calls, has been given more and more powers.

Wales voted narrowly for a devolved administration in 1997. It was one of the pledges of the Blair government that took power at Westminster earlier that year. Voter apathy was such that only 50% of registered voters turned out to vote and of them 50.3% voted for the proposed assembly with 49.7% voting against, a majority of 6,721. This meant that just 25% of registered voters actually voted for an assembly. The low turnout was perhaps understandable because many no doubt viewed an assembly as just another layer of bureaucratic government.

At the same time Scottish voters took part in a referendum that would give Scotland its own parliament with tax varying powers. The turnout was 60% and of those 74% said ‘yes’. No doubt the difference in proposals between those for Wales and Scotland was based on the louder calls for Independence north of the border.

Over 84% of the electorate turn out when Scotland voted in the Independence referendum in 2014. A high turnout might be anticipated should the electorate in Wales ever be asked to vote in an Independence referendum.

Even APD devolution/ varying rates in Northern Ireland and Scotland resulted from issues of the moment. Direct long haul flight APD in Northern Ireland was at first reduced then abolished by the UK government to give Belfast International a sporting chance with their Continental Newark service versus Dublin. It failed to do the trick. Scotland’s APD devolution was part of the many powers devolved when the referendum looked as though it might produce an Independence majority.

So currently within the UK, three of the countries have forms of devolved government but not all with the same powers whilst the fourth country, and easily the largest one, has no devolved government, and on top of that elected representatives from the other three countries still have a say on matters solely affecting England, with no reciprocal influence within the devolved governments. England doesn’t even have a secretary of state to keep an eye on its interests unlike the other three countries, although opinions will always be mixed as to the efficacy of an individual post-holder.

It would be difficult to sit down and create a more inept and divisive system. Few people seem satisfied with it. Is anyone surprised? I’m not. I sometimes call our system a quasi federal one. I don’t really think it’s even that. It’s more like an ersatz federal system.

As for giving Wales more powers to resemble a full-blown government, the furthest that could probably be envisaged would be a type of ‘devolution maximum’ (‘devo max’) that was and is still talked about as a way forward for Scotland that might take the sting out of the Independence movement.

It would mean Wales having full fiscal autonomy in exchange for giving up its grant from the UK Exchequer. Wales would keep all taxation raised in the country but pay the UK government a sum as its contribution towards such things as UK Defence and Foreign Relations. To go beyond that would inevitably mean Wales needing full independence outside the UK.
 
As for giving Wales more powers to resemble a full-blown government, the furthest that could probably be envisaged would be a type of ‘devolution maximum’ (‘devo max’) that was and is still talked about as a way forward for Scotland that might take the sting out of the Independence movement.

It would mean Wales having full fiscal autonomy in exchange for giving up its grant from the UK Exchequer. Wales would keep all taxation raised in the country but pay the UK government a sum as its contribution towards such things as UK Defence and Foreign Relations. To go beyond that would inevitably mean Wales needing full independence outside the UK.
That is what Carwyn Jones wanted to happen, essentially internal autonomy and Defence and Foreign relations done by the UK government, which is similar to the relationship that overseas territories like the Falklands and Gibraltar and the Channel Islands have with the UK. I do think if the UK government did that then most Welsh people would be quite happy with that and possibly even Scots as well but i don't see the UK government which is now even more nationalistic than before would do that, i don't think they could contenance in the halls of power given away the powers let alone letting Wales have home rule. In fact i do fear this new government might try and do it's best to gain powers back but we'll just have to see what happens.
 
That is what Carwyn Jones wanted to happen, essentially internal autonomy and Defence and Foreign relations done by the UK government, which is similar to the relationship that overseas territories like the Falklands and Gibraltar and the Channel Islands have with the UK. I do think if the UK government did that then most Welsh people would be quite happy with that and possibly even Scots as well but i don't see the UK government which is now even more nationalistic than before would do that, i don't think they could contenance in the halls of power given away the powers let alone letting Wales have home rule. In fact i do fear this new government might try and do it's best to gain powers back but we'll just have to see what happens.
The WG's annual budget is over £18 billion per year with around 80% coming from the Westminster block grant. If devo max came to Wales and the block grant ceased would the country be able compensate that loss with tax raised in Wales alone, bearing in mind it would also have to pay its share of the UK's Defence and Foreign Relations budget?

Fiscal autonomy would give the Welsh Government many additional powers. It's likely that Scotland would be similarly treated, assuming it had not voted to leave the Union altogether. Either way, countries of the UK (or possibly in Scotland's case a former country of the UK) would likely be competing with each other to boost their economies via tax management with corporation tax and VAT obvious tools and (as this is what this thread is all about) APD, albeit that it a minor tax in the overall scheme of things.

Would Wales become a tax haven or am I now venturing into the fanciful?
 
The WG's annual budget is over £18 billion per year with around 80% coming from the Westminster block grant. If devo max came to Wales and the block grant ceased would the country be able compensate that loss with tax raised in Wales alone, bearing in mind it would also have to pay its share of the UK's.
The GDP of the Welsh economy is estimated at £70 billion. Also one of the problems with estimating how much tax Wales brings in is that many companies that'll operate in the UK will pay tax to the UK government and their Welsh revenue is never really declared. Another factor is the water and electricity that goes to England especially the electricity that Wales over produces by 50% and never gets compensated for. It is believed that because of this Wales tax revenue would be much more than the block grant it currently gets. Even if it runs a fiscal deficit like most countries do it would be able to financially support itself and of course have much more ability to shape it's own economy and create new streams of revenue for itself.
 

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