The Scottish government has announced that a proposed cut to the air departure tax paid by passengers flying out of the country’s airports will not go ahead.
The devolved tax is due to replace air passenger duty in Scotland, though that move has been delayed to beyond 2020.
The Scottish National Party made an election pledge to halve and then scrap the air passenger tax, amid criticisms that it would increase the number of flights and harm the environment.
But this week, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said cutting air departure tax was not compatible with the party’s climate targets. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” last month.
“All parts of government and society have a contribution to make to meeting this challenge,” Mackay said.
“We continue to support our tourism industry, which is going from strength to strength, and we will work with the sector to develop in a sustainable way.”
Labour, the Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats argued the plan would amount to a £150m tax break for the aviation industry and wealthy business travellers, according to the BBC.
The government’s u-turn has been criticised by tourism chiefs and the business community, according to reporting in the Herald.
Liz Smith, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the move would “do nothing to reduce emissions and will have a significant and deleterious impact on the Scottish economy.”
In a report, Edinburgh Airport predicted that halving the departure tax would create 4,000 jobs and add £1bn to the Scottish economy.
Welsh politicians have argued that flights out of Cardiff to UK destinations should be exempt from air departure tax.