§ Air travel has also been undertaxed, because it has proved difficult—still proves difficult—to get international agreement to tax its fuel. The rates of air passenger duty are to be increased. The £5 rate on flights to most European countries will be increased to £10, and the £10 rate on flights to the rest of the world will be increased to £20. Those increases will not come into effect until 1 November 1997. [Laughter.] I realise that we are all thinking of a forthcoming election, but the reason why the Opposition cannot produce a responsible economic policy is plainly that they are obsessive about it. The very good reason for delaying until November 1997 is to give tour operators who have already sold their packages time to reflect the new rates in the prices that they publish in their holiday brochures. I announce necessary things before an election. That is responsibility; that is what is totally lacking among Opposition Members, who seem to propose to announce nothing whatever of any substance, apart from a windfall tax, this side of the election.
167 Business travel is soaring, and the holiday business is booming at the moment in prosperous Britain. This modest change will not stop it booming in future prosperous years. About 40 per cent. of the revenue raised by passenger tax is borne by overseas visitors.