Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Lord Sugar's reaction to the budget

“The fact that I have a private jet has prompted many media enquiries on today’s budget announcement that users are to now pay passenger duty.

I have tried to understand the message behind it but like most others I find it rather weak and inconclusive. I have concluded it is merely a window-dressing publicity stunt. If ever there was a statement to try to bring the public on side how better to put it than in the way the Chancellor stated:

“We will also seek to bring private jets, which pay no duty at all, into the scope of taxation. The wealthiest should not escape the tax the ordinary holidaymaker has to pay”

I hope people see through this PR stunt, the general meaning of which is “We are going to whack the rich and look after the poor.” But in fact the revenue on private flights, based on the same duties paid by holidaymakers, will not add up to a row of beans when you consider private flight passengers number a few thousand annually compared to the many millions of passengers on commercial flights.

In fact, I will go as far as to say that annual revenues collected for private flight passengers would hardly be enough to pay for private flights like the ones taken by William Hague a few weeks ago to North Africa, where he spent £300k of tax payer’s money for reasons only he understands.

Might I also say that an owner of a private jet has paid for it themselves out of tax-paid income. They also employ staff like pilots and engineers to maintain their aircraft - again out of tax paid income - and the proposal is that to fly on it one has to pay some tax again. What PR stunt are we to expect next? That anyone who owns a Rolls Royce or a Range Rover has to pay for every passenger they carry on every journey?”

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