UK: Tour operators lose ‘stealth tax’ legal challenge

A group of tour operators has lost its High Court challenge against the Government’s Air Passenger Duty (APD), a controversial £2 billion a year levy branded a “stealth tax of the skies”.Dismissing a legal challenge brought by the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and two of its member companies – Tui UK and Kuoni Travel – a judge ruled that APD was a lawful charge.The judge also upheld Gordon Brown’s decision earlier this year to double APD, leaving holiday companies with a “shock” bill of some £50 million they could not pass on to customers because of insufficient notice of the increase.Dismissing the case, which was an application for a judicial review, a mechanism through which interested parties can attempt to challenge Government decisions through the courts, Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, said had has “some sympathy” for the tour operators. However, claimants had not established any of their grounds for challenging APD or its increase.The FTO was refused permission to appeal, but can still ask the Court of Appeal directly to consider its case. It said it was “disappointed” with the outcome and was considering a possible appeal.Source: timesonline; read full article here. FTO’s statement to be found here.

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