Lib Dems say tax air for rail funds

03 August 2007

Liberal Democrats say they would put an extra £10 tax per ticket on internal flights in Britain to help fund improvements to the rail network.

‘Although they are not going to be the next government, this seems to me to be a useful idea,’ said ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman. ‘However, in order for it to be practical, it would mean a government commitment to a high-speed north-south rail track, which the Department for Transport ruled out last week.

‘It is, however, something worth considering. Even the Lib Dems have useful ideas – like their proposal to put a toll on road freight to encourage investment in rail freight.’

The party says the flight charge would generate £150m a year, and the freight toll could raise £600m annually, even if ‘lifeline’ air routes like those between the Orkneys and mainland Scotland were excluded. The Lib Dems will discuss the proposals at their annual conference in September.

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