Rishi Sunak “blanked” Simon Jupp in his budget speech

A sharp-eyed correspondent noticed an article posted on the Times “Red Box” column on Tuesday authored by Simon Jupp and Andrew Bowie, MP for Aberdeen.

Both the correspondent and Owl thought it looked suspisciously like a “planted” story.

These two MPs were arguing for the Chancellor to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights as “a bold step towards supporting connectivity across all parts of the Union, as well as boosting our domestic aviation industry which has been at the forefront of the economic impact of coronavirus.”

With COP 26 about to start, arguing for cuts in air passenger duty (when aviation kerosene used by the commercial aviation sector is already exempt from tax) would not seem to be a clever way to support regional aviation. This is an industry that has to be rethought; it can’t just be reset to the “BP” (Before Pandemic) era. 

“Cheap domestic flights might seem a good deal when you buy them, but they are a climate disaster, generating seven times more harmful greenhouse emissions than the equivalent train journey. Making the train cheaper will boost passenger numbers and help reduce emissions from aviation, but any cut to air passenger duty – coupled with a rise in rail fares in January – will send the wrong message about how the government wants people to travel and mean more people choosing to fly.” Paul Tuohy, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive.

Nevertheless, the Chancellor obliged by rebalancing the duty, reducing it on domestic flights and increasing it on long flights. 

Obviously Rishi Sunak was expected to name check Aberdeen and Exeter in his speech, illustrating the range of UK domestic flights. Except that Exeter/Devon/Newquay/The South West (and Simon Jupp) must be so beyond his metropolitan radar he forgot to mention it/them.

What he actually said was:

“But today I can announce that flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will…

…from April 2023, be subject to a new lower rate of Air Passenger Duty.

This will help cut the cost of living, with 9 million passengers seeing their duty cut by half.

It will bring people together across the UK.

And because they tend to have a greater proportion of domestic passengers…

…it is a boost to regional airports like Aberdeen, Belfast, Inverness and Southampton”

With Exmouth failing to get the Dinan Way grant from the “Leveling up” fund, and Simon having to deny he supported continuing with the tame water quality policy that results, for example, in sewage spewing into the Otter from Honiton, on average, every two or three days, it’s been a mixed week. [Owl repeats “a ludicrous and misleading accusation”.]

Owl believes Simon Jupp has serious questions to answer with regard to his green credentials.

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