With a flurry of golf-ball-sized hailstones just now hitting London, summer holidays may seem like a lifetime away. But the flowers in my garden tell me that spring is here and soon the sun will be shining.
MPs are rather ahead of the rest of us on this, spending today debating the price of family getaway during school holidays. More than 168,000 people signed an e-petition which called for a cap on the percentage increase on the price of holidays during term time.
I’m glad to say that no MP in the Westminster Hall debate supported this state intervention, which would have the effect only of making fewer holidays available to UK families, thus putting the price up further. But what struck me particularly was how the simple solution of making holidays cheaper by scrapping green taxes was dismissed as a “non-flyer”.
The “non-flyers”, in my opinion, are those families priced out of the market by the EU Emission Trading Scheme and Air Passenger Duty (APD). The combination of these taxes on a family of four going on holiday to Florida is more than £300.
The Chancellor has long since given up admitting that these levies have anything to do with saving the environment and admitted in a letter to European airport bosses that APD was now “fundamentally a revenue-raising duty” which provides the Treasury with £2.5bn a year.
Remember that, when you’re deciding between a week in the sun or a week in Scunthorpe.