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Region happy tax postponed

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Region happy tax postponed

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The Caribbean today welcomed the decision by the British government to postpone until April next year, an increase in the controversial Air Passenger Tax (APD) that the region has argued seriously undermines its vital tourism sector.
Chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Richard “Ricky” Skerrit, who is also the Tourism Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, said that British travelers to the region would not now have to pay any additional tax increase for a year.
Chancellor George Osborne in presenting the United Kingdom coalition government’s budget on Wednesday announced a delay on increasing the tax further.
Osborne told the House of Commons passengers would not have to pay the increase – planned for November – until April 2012 due to ‘hefty’ rises in the tax last year.
The Chancellor appears to have bowed to pressure from the travel industry, which has campaigned heavily for the charges not to rise. APD has increased every year in line with inflation since 2007 and is already up to 8.5 times more than the European average.
Before November last year, each economy class traveller to the Caribbean paid £50 (US$77) in APD, but that tax was increased to £75 (US $115) – the second in as many years. The levy for premium economy, business and first class passengers rose from £100 (US$154) to £150 (US$291). (CMC)