NICOLA Sturgeon will tomorrow face an uncomfortable political choice between abandoning a manifesto promise to give the air industry a £150m tax cut or siding with Ruth Davidson’s Tories to defend it. Scottish Labour have created the dilemma for the First Minister by forcing a Holyrood vote on the SNP’s election pledge to halve and then scrap air passenger duty in Scotland. Labour, the LibDems and Greens all oppose the tax break, which they say will boost airline traffic and add at least 60,000 tonnes to carbon dioxide emissions and damage the climate. Although their combined numbers are not enough to defeat the Scottish Government on Wednesday, the vote could see SNP MSPs lining up with the Tories to support the policy. The choice comes as the First Minister tries to put as much distance as possible between herself and Ms Davidson, who returns to Holyrood this week vowing to replace Ms Sturgeon at the 2021 election.
Herald 7th May 2019 read more »
Nicola Sturgeon is facing increasing pressure to ditch a flagship government policy that would cut tax on flights to prove her commitment to tackling the climate emergency. Scottish Labour will tomorrow force a vote to scrap the planned cut in air departure tax (ADT), which is due to come into effect next year. The move is likely to be supported by the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens but could divide the SNP backbenches between those who want to tackle climate change and others who believe the cut will boost the economy by increasing the number of flights in and out of the country. However the Scottish Conservatives will continue to back a tax cut for long haul flights – despite leader Ruth Davidson claiming at her party’s weekend conference that climate change was a “massive challenge”. The SNP’s longstanding pledge to cut air departure tax by 50 per cent, before eventually scrapping it entirely, has previously been branded “irresponsible in the face of climate change” by Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Scotsman 7th May 2019 read more »