During a debate on a post-Brexit taxation bill in UK parliament yesterday, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman MP, revealed that the duty rate on aviation gasoline (AVGAS) is due to increase next year.
Addressing the House of Commons, Jesse Norman MP said: “The Bill introduces a small increase in the rate of duty on aviation gasoline, which will apply across the UK to ensure consistency between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
General Aviation associations, which would normally have expected to be consulted ahead of any tax changes affecting the sector, have expressed surprise at the news after apparently being left in the dark over the tax rise.
While the duty increase is relatively insignificant – an increase from 37.7 pence per litre to 38.2 pence from 01 January 2021 – there is a certain irony to it, in that it comes not from a post-Brexit British mandate but from an EU directive.
Due to a condition in the Northern Ireland Protocol, which apparently requires NI to adopt this EU tax provision, coupled with UK Government’s decision to align tax levels across GB & NI, the UK will in effect be adopting a new EU tax directive in a post-Brexit world.
Commenting on the ironic situation, Shadow SNP Treasury spokesperson Alison Thewliss said: “I am quite surprised that he [Jesse Norman MP] allowed to fly the EU setting the level of taxation on aviation gasoline. The reason that I am quite surprised about that, in the most ludicrous of ludicrous Brexit-based patriotic ironies, is that avgas is the fuel used not just in private and leisure aircraft, as the Minister set out, but in Spitfires, Hurricanes and other similar planes. There is some mad irony in the UK Government handing over to the EU the power to set the taxation on those vintage planes that bear so much patriotism among so many people.”