Scrap air passenger duty and focus on free movement: Think tank offers ways for Conservatives to win over younger voters

Rebecca Smith
The think tank says scrapping air passenger duty for under-30s is a must
The thik tank says scrapping air passenger duty for under-30s is a must (Source: Getty)

Scrapping air passenger duty for under-30s and making it easier for young people to live and work abroad would help the Conservatives win over younger voters, a think tank said today.

The Adam Smith Institute has published a new paper looking at a package of policies younger voters should be offered to boost incomes and improve their lives. The think tank said policies such as scrapping what it dubbed the "Ibiza tax" of air passenger duty should be considered, or the Conservatives risked losing a whole generation of voters.

Read more: A ‘truly global Britain’ would abolish air passenger duty

Air passenger duty (APD) is levied on everyone over the age of 16. The Airport Operators Association, which represents UK airports, said in June that the UK levies the highest aviation tax in Europe, and called it a major hindrance to UK airports as they seek to convince airlines to fly to the UK.

The Adam Institute's new paper suggests raising the age APD is applied at to 30 because, despite rising fuel efficiency, the tax has not fallen.

Young people should also face a lower rate of National Insurance and one that is only levied above the tax-free allowance, the think tank argues, saying it could save a young person earning £21,500 some £533 a year.

As well as focusing on reducing the costs of working at home and travelling abroad, the report says government should make it easier to work and study abroad, concentrating on countries young people are most likely to say they would like to live and work in. These include Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US.

The think tank says free movement for under-30s with these countries should be a post-Brexit priority to demonstrate to young people that a global Britain can work for them.

Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

It isn’t easy being young in Britain. Houses are mostly unaffordable, rents are high and most high-quality jobs are in the most expensive parts of the country. For all but a very lucky few, times are tough.

He added: "Today’s paper should start a conversation in the government and the Conservative Party at large about how to win back some of the younger voters lost to Corbyn, both in terms of specific policies that might improve young people’s prospects by raising their spending power, cutting their rents and giving them better access to the public services they need, and in terms of a wider culture shift that puts the priorities and problems of young people at the heart of Conservative governance."

Read more: Net migration target will haunt the Tories

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