Highland Council supports UK Air Passenger Duty exemption for flights departing Highlands & Islands
27th June 2019
Highland Councillors have unanimously agreed that the Council will support the continuation of the exemption from UK Air Passenger Duty for flights departing from airports in the Highlands & Islands; and Members also agreed that the Council will continue working with HiTRANS to present the case of the need for, and benefit arising from an exemption from the current UK Air Passenger Duty and any successor duty.
The Council's stance comes this week as calls have been made by Aberdeen Airport for greater parity with Highlands & Islands.
Members were informed in a report to a meeting of The Highland Council today (27 June) that the Scottish Government announced on 7 May 2019 that reducing the Air Departure Tax was no longer compatible with Scotland's new emissions reduction targets. The Scottish Government confirmed that they have agreed with the UK Government that the introduction of the Air Departure Tax would be deferred beyond April 2020 to ensure it was properly devolved and that a solution was found to the Highlands and Islands exemption to protect rural communities.
The Scottish Government have advised that "Air connectivity is critical for the Highlands and Islands, and our position on the existing exemption is unchanged - it must remain in place to protect remote and rural communities." The Scottish Government therefore have committed to continue to work with the UK Government and the Air Departure Tax Highlands and Islands Working Group to find a solution. In the meantime, the UK Government will maintain the application of Air Passenger Duty in Scotland, including the exemption for Highlands and Islands.
Convener Cllr Bill Lobban said: "The Highlands must remain affordable and competitive in its air connections with the rest of the world. Air links are vital to business and tourism and good connectivity is fundamental to building a thriving rural economy."
Cllr Andrew Jarvie added: "It’s taken three decades of hard work to get Inverness airport the connectivity it has with six daily flights to global hubs - you can fly from Inverness to any continent in the world with one ticket and one stop. This has opened Inverness to the world and any threat would only take us backwards."
Members have, at a special council meeting today, agreed a top priority for the Scottish Government New Schools Investment Programme bid. Members agreed that the proposed Tain 3-18 Campus project is nominated as The Highland Council's priority for consideration by the Scottish Government for inclusion in the initial phase of the New Schools Investment Programme with a delivery timescale by the end of 2021.
At this time of year many householders are thinking of their gardens, keeping them tidy or seeing to those jobs that need done before the weather turns. This is also the same time of year for criminals to take advantage of this and prey on the unsuspecting.
The Council has successfully distributed more than 20,000 Chromebook devices to all its schools to support learners to acquire key technology and life skills in facilitating a digitally enabled generation. Based on the ICT in Learning Strategic Action Plan 2015, The Highland Council started the Chromebook Project in November 2017 where every pupil in P6-S6 will be allocated a Chromebook for their use in school and at home for educational purposes and P1-P5 pupils will have access to Chromebooks at school on a 1:5 ratio.
Considerable effort has been focussed on returning young people to Highland. Since the Councils enhanced Placement Programme began in June 2018, 34 young people have returned to Highland or circumvented OOA (Out of Authority) avoiding costs of over £5M as compared with these young people remaining out of area for a year.
In excess of 22,000 customers were assisted by the Council's Welfare Support Team and Citizens Advice during 2018/19 for support with welfare, debt and housing issues. 3,372 customers were helped by the Welfare Support Team and 18,777 clients were assisted by Citizens Advice.
One hundred and seventeen (117) probationer teachers were recently welcomed to Highland at an Induction course held at Millburn Academy in Inverness. The probationer teachers' induction day is the first of a number of professional learning events throughout the year specifically arranged to support probationer teacher induction and their ongoing professional learning.
Measures to be put in place to cut down amount of construction and demolition waste collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Highland Council will be putting measures in place to restrict the amount of construction and demolition waste bought to its network of 21 Household Waste Recycling Centres.
Highland Council today (15 August 2019) launched a consultation on a potential Highland Transient Visitor Levy. The Council has not yet made a decision on whether to implement a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL), also known as a Tourist Tax.
The Highland Council is warning the public of the presence of an algal bloom at Loch Watten, Caithness, following an examination of sample water on Monday (12/08/19). As a precautionary measure, environmental health have posted notices next to the water body, warning that contact with the algal scum or material should be avoided.
An officer in the Highland Council's Trading Standards team has won a UK award for her work on anti-counterfeiting and protecting consumers. Lynn Foster was presented with the Dave Hankinson Memorial Award for Individual Excellence by Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG).
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