Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) are being urged to urgently step up the lobby against the Airline Passenger Duty (APD) through their Members of Parliament (MPs) ahead of the tabling of the UK budget next month.
High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, told a recent meeting of Jamaican community leaders that there are 84 constituencies with important Caribbean communities that were being urgently targeted by the Caribbean APD lobby. He said that the Caribbean Caucus, comprising the region’s tourism ministers, have identified eight Parliamentarians, who are of particular interest.
He said it was urgent that the letters and petitions get to the representatives in time for the March 23 budget.
“One thing that is critical about it is time. We want to get in letters to the MPs because on the 23rd of March is going to be the budget. We want to have something in there before the budget where the MPs are prepared to say to the (UK Treasury) Minister that (APD) is not fair, it is bad. We need to keep pushing as many letters as we can to the MPs so that they can keep up the lobby,” he stated.
Describing the APD as an unfair tax, Mr. Johnson said that the region was losing business because of the additional cost to travellers.
The APD is a travel tax imposed by the UK government, which is applied according to the distance travelled by passengers to and from UK airports, with those who travel the farthest paying more.
The Caribbean has been placed in band C, now means passengers travelling to and from the Caribbean pay more than passengers travelling to and from the United States, which is in the cheaper band B.
High Commissioner Johnson told the meeting that UK Jamaicans should not be afraid or ashamed to voice their concern because they have made significant contribution to British society.
“We think that we have made a substantial contribution to British life and we think on the whole, it has been positive. We want the world to know that we have made a significant contribution and we will continue make a significant contribution,” he stated.
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