EUROPE: Holiday price fears absurd

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Of all the extraordinary stories to emerge from ‘Project Fear’ in recent weeks, the suggestion that holiday prices are in any way reliant on our membership of the EU, and could therefore rise should we vote to leave, is among the most absurd.

Many factors affect the cost of holidays and flights. Our membership of a protectionist political grouping is not one of them.

The most significant cost for most flights is fuel, which is why the cost of flights tends to reduce when global oil prices are low, as they are at present.

Another large portion of the cost is a tax called Air Passenger Duty — introduced by the previous Government in order to offset environmental concerns associated with flying, which is why the tax is higher for long-haul flights.

The UK has one of the highest taxes on flying in the world, and the rate of tax is set by our UK Government, not the EU. If the Chancellor wants to reduce the cost of holidays, he could simply announce it in his next budget.

The third factor which influences the cost of our holidays is the value of Sterling. Your readers will know that is primarily affected by interest rates, which are set by the Bank of England.

It is why some years ago the papers were full of stories of Brits popping over to New York for the weekend. Had the USA joined the EU? No, it was because the exchange rate was two dollars to the pound, meaning it was a relatively cheap weekend break for some.

The UK has bilateral deals with other European nations which play their part in keeping travel costs down, but these are not EU arrangements and would not be affected by Brexit — the deals include non-EU countries, such as Norway and Iceland.

If the EU was, indeed, behind low air fares, surely we would have heard about that before now?

If it were the case, it would surely be more expensive to fly to European countries which are not EU members?

Ryanair’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary has admitted that Brexit would have no impact on the cost of flights.

This is another sorry scare tactic from the Remain camp. It does not have a positive vision of the future to sell to the British people so it must rely on fear and scare-mongering, and talking Britain down.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed