Your headline, “Aviation tax cuts ahead of Cop26 summit undermine UK’s climate credibility” (10 March), appositely describes the government’s astonishing decision to cut duty paid on domestic flights.
The commercial impetus behind kickstarting air travel after the pandemic is understandable. However, a far better policy would have been to tax gently on the first flight but penalise for subsequent journeys. This could have been achieved by charging individuals at an increasing rate for each trip in any calendar year taken from an airport in the UK.
A modest levy for the first flight would be, say, 5 per cent of the fare. That would ensure social justice. But this percentage would double for every successive journey. Taxpayers would have a duty to declare their flights to HMRC who would be tasked to make random checks.
Frequent flyers would think carefully about taking multiple flights.
What a superb piece of writing by Tom Peck. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. And I was just naive enough to think that Piers has been sucking up to “The Firm” to ensure his future “gong”. Silly me.
Test and Trace disaster
The financial scandal of Dido Harding’s Test and Trace is mind-boggling and indefensible.
However, Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock must also live with the certain knowledge that any other system of Test and Trace, and particularly one that utilised cooperation between local councils and NHS trusts, would have saved many of the lives lost over this awful winter.
I see no evidence that this lesson has been learned.
John E Harrison
Right to protest
Some of the proposals contained within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 send a chill down the spine of those who value freedom and democracy (Peaceful protest, Letters, 10 March).
Here we have a government that shows contempt for the rights of those who hold different views to express themselves. The government has impeded the work of parliament; attempted to undermine the judiciary; invoked, and then misused, emergency powers; misspent public money; lied to the public on numerous occasions; and protected ministers from their own misdemeanours.
It imposes its ideology and fails to represent the interests of those voters who do not share its views (the majority). The proposals in this bill now intend to seriously diminish the public’s right to protest on the grounds of “inconvenience”.
We should not be surprised by any of this, but we should be very afraid. When the public awakes from the pandemic exhaustion, what kind of country will they find?
EU’s vaccine crisis
Instead of worrying about tourism and Covid passports, Europe’s political leaders should be concentrating their efforts on immunising the population. The only way to save lives and our economies is to vaccinate whole populations as fast as possible. Yet the EU and European governments seem incapable of organising the supply of vaccines and implementing an efficient, coordinated vaccination programme.
The opaque contracts with the pharmas, which seem to be holding the world to ransom, have led to delays and conflicts of interest, while the protocols are being abused or simply leading to confusion over how, where, when and who should receive the first and second doses.
The fact is that the pandemic has demonstrated the incompetence and negligence of our elected representatives and governments and their inability to protect the people. It is chaos and a damning failure of our democracies in a time of crisis.
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