Community let down over tax

An MP was accused of turning her back on the Caribbean community as an unpopular airplane tax she campaigned against is set to rise.

An MP was accused of turning her back on the Caribbean community as an unpopular airplane tax she campaigned against is set to rise.

Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central, led a high profile petition against the Airplane Passenger Duty (APD) labelling it unfair and unacceptable.

But six months after the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition entered government, the fees are set to increase from �50 to �75 for visitors to the Caribbean and from $45 to �60 for visitors to anywhere in the U.S.

Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala (Lab: Stonebridge) said: “It’s shocking that after taking office the Lib-Dems have failed to show any real commitment to reform the system. It seems the much trumpeted Lib-Dem APD campaign was more about politicking to curry favour with Brent’s Caribbean community than to address the issues.”


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The tax, brought in by the previous Labour Government, was widely criticised for taxing travellers more to fly to the Caribbean than to the west coast of America despite being 700 miles closer.

Brent has the highest number of people of Caribbean descent in the UK, many of whom return to holiday and visit relatives.

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Retired Liz Hylton, who immigrated from Jamaica and now lives on the Church Lane estate, said: “Both MPs were campaigning about the APD before the election. But what’s the point when they get in if they drop it? Now it will go up. I am very disappointed.

“People say they are helping but no one is helping. There’s no jobs, all the prices have gone up, how can you save up to go home and visit?”

But Ms Teather, who collected signatures against APD in Harlesden High Street with celebrity Floella Benjamin as part of her election campaign, denied she had dropped the issue.

She said: “I will continue to campaign against any changes to APD which unfairly penalise the Caribbean.

“Airport Duty is not fit for purpose as busy flights pay more than half-empty flights, and freight and private jets pay nothing. The coalition has made it clear that they intend to replace APD and the treasury is currently undertaking a review.”

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