Quakers question tax cuts for polluters

By agency reporter
January 20, 2020

Quakers in Britain are questioning government moves to support the aviation industry. In an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, Quakers say that reducing Air Passenger Duty directly threatens the UK's net-zero commitment.

Here is the full text of the letter to the Chancellor:

“We are writing to urge the government to reconsider its proposal to review Air Passenger Duty (APD) to support the aviation industry. Any reduction in APD would clearly be incompatible with the UK's legally binding carbon budgets and would seriously undermine efforts to address the escalating climate crisis we all face.

“Led by our commitment to sustainability and equality, Quakers have been working for a number of years to engage our own faith community and wider civil society with climate action. We know that civil society engagement is part of the government's agenda in the lead-up to COP26, and we see strong evidence of growing public concern and willingness to act. However, people need to see leadership from government. As well as directly threatening the UK's net-zero commitment, a tax cut for polluters would send the wrong signal to the public and hamper efforts to encourage citizens to take action.

“Every kilo of its remaining carbon budget the UK uses on domestic flights – which are overwhelmingly taken by the wealthy – reduces our ability to manage the zero-carbon transition and mitigate its impacts on the poorest people. We should be welcoming the decline in domestic flights and reserving financial support for low-carbon options such as rail and bus services, to offer more people alternatives to the plane or the car.

“We await with interest the Treasury's plans for how it will align its operations with the UK's net-zero commitment, and we hope to see stronger collaboration between government departments to ensure this commitment is embedded across government. We urge you to prioritise the needs of those most affected by climate change: young people and unborn generations, and poor and marginalised people."

The letter is signed by Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain.

* Quaker concern for the earth and well-being of all who live in it is deeply rooted in faith. In 2011, Quakers reaffirmed their commitment to build a low-carbon, sustainable community. In 2013, Quakers in Britain were the first church in Britain to divest centrally held money from the fossil fuel industry.

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain https://www.quaker.org.uk/

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