Magazine article The Spectator

Cheap Flights Hurt the Poor

Magazine article The Spectator

Cheap Flights Hurt the Poor

Article excerpt

From John Stewart Sir: In his paragraph in praise of cheap flights (The Spectator's Notes, 14 October), Charles Moore alleges that the 'greens' genuine concern with the environment gets inextricably muddled up with their instinctive disdain for poor people'.

What the facts show is that cheap flights are actually hurting poor people. Between 2000 and 2004 the number of international air trips of households with an annual income of less than £28,000 fell by 8 per cent. The British Social Attitudes Survey showed that in 2002 over half those in semi-routine or routine occupations had not flown at all, whereas nearly half of those in higher managerial and professional occupations had flown three or more times. Not surprisingly, then, the main users of budget flights turn out to be people from social classes A, B and C1.

This means that the tax subsidies enjoyed by the aviation industry -- no tax on fuel, zero-rated for VAT -- which make cheap flights viable operate as a tax subsidy for the rich. …

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