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A campaign to persuade the Chancellor to drop planned hikes in the tax levied on all flights leaving the UK is being launched today at airports across the country including Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA), as a new poll is released showing 3 out of 4 people think that Air Passenger Duty (APD) should not go up in the next Budget. Of those saying APD should not go up 49 per cent said APD should be reduced. Only 6 per cent said APD should be increased.

The Chancellor announced in this year’s Budget that APD will rise by double inflation in 2012. Passengers travelling through airports will be leafleted by staff wearing ‘Hands off our Holiday, Mr Taxman’ T-shirts and are being urged to tell their MPs to say ‘Hands off our holiday’ to the Chancellor.

The campaign, backed by the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR-UK), and the British Air Transport Association (BATA) is urging people to email their MP via the website www.handsoffourholiday.com and to tweet their support for the hikes to be abandoned using the hashtag #handsoffourhols.

The poll, carried out by Opinium Research for the Hands off our Holiday campaign also shows that nearly 4 out of 5 people were unaware of the plans to further increase the tax by double inflation.

Robin Tudor, Head of PR for Peel Airports commented, "At LJLA today we want to help raise the awareness over these planned increases in APD, to our passengers. Here in the UK our passengers already pay far too much tax – the highest anywhere in the world. Across Europe our competitors are either lowering or scrapping APD tax as aviation prepares to enter the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Here, we are now threatened with a double inflation increase next year coming on top of the planned cost of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

"People are preparing now for their summer holidays. Many will be flying abroad, but some cannot afford to even now – without the big increases threatened next year. There is still time for the Chancellor to change his mind and we are urging passengers today to complain to their MP."

Also commenting on the campaign, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the AOA, said, "Our message to the Chancellor is that enough is enough. Air Passenger Duty has already gone up by 325% on long haul flights and 140% on short haul flights in the last five years. Family finances are under great pressure at the moment and most people save hard all year for their holiday. Working families deserve a break."

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