According to this article over at the BBC there is a want to bring in a frequent flyer tax. The article states that 70% of flights originating in the UK are made the 15% most wealthiest people in the UK.
Why is this idea an absolute folly?
This isn’t an argument about wealth. Most frequent flyers from the UK are flying for work. Look at any UK airport between 5 and 8 on any weekday morning. I would say that 70% of the travelers were traveling for work. Its mobile phones, client paperwork, laptops and Financial Times’ everywhere. Not people on their jollies, these make up only a small proportion of frequent travelers at this time and okay you get the odd one trying not to draw attention to themselves because they have been lambasted in the press for using private aircraft too much!.
Here is where it is at. The UK is a mass exporter of knowledge that is held in peoples heads. This knowledge is in extremely high demand all over the world every hour of every day and this demand will never wane. These people are the consultants, the IT experts, the finance experts, the scientists, the engineers of this world. Our country’s finest people and brains in these sectors. Between 5am and 8am every weekday morning we are sending this people on a plane to some part of the world not for a jolly but to do a full days work after they land. Yes many of these people earn good wages but this is besides the point. Trust me in 16 years (I travelled on 1187 flights in this period) flying was a chore and not a pleasure but I had to do it to earn a living. Eventually the level of flying paid its part in claiming my health.
Now this proposal could affect the United Kingdom’s knowledge industry and the benefits it has to the country’s standing abroad and also the our balance of trade. (Our knowledge industry is so well admired and respected) Clients worldwide pay lots and lots of money every day for our knowledge based expertise and are happy to pay it. Knowledge is an export!
Clearly the author of this proposal had to come up with something and decided to take a socialist view of things so it would get a few hand claps at during the political party conference season and ignore the facts of frequent flying and what it does for the UK and an important part of the UK and what and Who the UK is.