01 April 2012

A duty of balance

Oh what a shame! Aviation companies are causing a stir following the news that air passenger duty is to rise by 8% from today. Quite why the BBC called it 'breaking news' when the government announced it last autumn, is anyone's guess.

Aviation companies receive a 100% discount on the fuel they use. As the most polluting of public transport providers, it seems bizarre to many that this should be so. From today, the government has reduced Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) that it pays to bus companies operating registered bus services. BSOG is the fuel duty rebate, of which bus companies received 80% back, but this has been reduced by a further 20% from today. Bus operators now only receive 64% of the fuel duty back, which, when added to the additional increases in fuel that we're all facing (airlines included) equates to a per litre increase of up to 34p.

34p per litre is eye-watering, especially with diesel broadly above £1.45 per litre, too. Most bus operators receive a discount due to the quantity they purchase or use fuel cards to fill their coaches up at service stations, but the 20% cut in BSOG translates to increases in bus fares.

10p on singles, 20p on returns or 50p on weekly tickets seems to be the norm, where each are offered. Some are even higher. Very little national coverage of this on the BBC, while it happily runs national stories online and on its news channel of the likely increase people flying to/from the UK are to face. Despite the 8% increase, the government claims that just £1 extra per short-haul flight is likely to be charged. In some cases this is less that those commuting by bus will face from tomorrow.

The rail industry receives 91% of its fuel duty back, though a growing number of trains use electric traction rather than diesel. Charges for use of the electric current are charged to TOCs who don't operate diesel trains. And the reason why the aviation industry receives a full fuel duty refund on all fuel used is because planes fill up in many different countries, which if fuel duty was permitted to be charged, would see some countries charging considerably more to fuel planes than others.


Phil Parker said...

Yes - but the BBC has always been pro-car and anti anything other than personal transport using an internal combustion engine.

Busses are used by poor people or worse, those outside the M25. Planes are used by TV presenters and their cars are supplied (with drivers) by the Beeb.

If you don't believe me, has anyone seen a story by the BBC on electric cars that doesn't anything other than prove you can't drive to Scotland in one ? Despite the fact that most cars perform lots of shrot trips around town, something perfect for electric ones !

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Anonymous said...

Yes, let's blame the BBC!!!!

It's nothing to do with them - and that story about not being able to get to Scotland was also done on Fifth gear as well.