A West London council is campaigning for a Heathrow plane ticket tax that would increase the price of flights by £2. Hounslow Council wants to set up an Aviation Community Fund for flights to aid the post-pandemic recovery of the borough.
According to the council’s proposals, money for the fund would be raised through a small increase in the price of plane tickets for flights to and from Heathrow. The council say that by putting a £2 levy on each plane ticket, £100 million could quickly be raised to help regenerate the borough.
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The fund would be used by Hounslow Council to help the borough recover from the effects of the pandemic, including investing in upskilling and training workers and those who lost jobs and in so-called “green economic recovery” schemes. It comes after a study produced by Oxford Economics in 2020 revealed up to 43,000 jobs in Hounslow were at risk as a result of a drop in activity at Heathrow Airport.
This includes over 16,000 Hounslow residents who were employed as a direct or indirect result of the airport before the pandemic, equivalent to 11 per cent of the borough’s workforce, as well as those residents working for companies drawn to the area because it is right by the airport.
Heathrow Airport in Hillingdon directly employs more than 72,000 people and Hounslow borough’s economy has always relied heavily on its activity. It was significantly affected when the pandemic forced Heathrow to drastically cut back on the number of flights, and cargo, moving through.
Oxford Economics’ study, commissioned by the council, showed that lower skilled, lower paid and young workers, as well as those over the age of 50, would be most likely to be affected by the job losses. Hounslow’s campaign for a Aviation Community Fund forms part of a larger Covid recovery plan by the borough, which saw it invest in the rejuvenation of local businesses.
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Leader of Hounslow Council Steve Curran declined to comment on the proposed plane ticket levy but said: “The stats speak for themselves. As a London borough we have been particularly hard hit from the pandemic and I believe we will continue to feel the effects for many months to come.
“However, we are offering a robust economic recovery package that puts jobs, local economic growth and business support at the heart of our strategy. Our innovative ShopLocal initiative saw more than £1 million invested in the local economy last year.
“We will continue to be pioneers in how we develop our local economy – emerging from the pandemic a stronger and fairer borough.”
Heathrow Airport declined to comment.
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