27 Nov 2014

Newcastle Airport calls upon Government to ensure devolution is fair to the whole of the UK

Newcastle International Airport has today called upon the Government to ensure that forthcoming legislation protects the rest of the UK, including the North East, from the negative effects of devolving the power to charge a tax on air passengers to the Scottish Parliament. This follows the recommendations of the Smith Commission published today.

David Laws, Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely concerned about these proposals. We have undertaken intensive lobbying, including letters to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and other senior politicians. We have also submitted a full representation to the Smith Commission. This hasn’t been published due to its commercial sensitivity but may be in the future.

“Our submission predicts 1,000 fewer jobs across the North East by 2025, significant impact on passenger numbers, £400M in Gross Value Added (GVA) lost between 2015 and 2025, and additional journey time costs of £265M between 2015 and 2025.

“Our understanding is that our submission was discussed at the highest levels of government and the response from the Chancellor indicated that our concerns would be taken into account. We would be surprised if our modelling is inconsistent with the official modelling undertaken.

“If Scotland were to stop applying a tax on passengers, it would penalise people from the North East that want to fly from their local airport. We are now seeking a signal from the Chancellor in next week’s Autumn Statement that the Government is going to do something to address any future distortions. The Prime Minister said on 19 September that the devolution settlement had to be fair also to the people of the rest of the UK. We now want him to honour this commitment. The only way to achieve this is for any reductions in Scotland to be matched in the rest of the UK, or for this damaging Duty to be reformed in such a way that distortions are avoided.”