The Government are committed to the deepest possible integration of the four nations of the United Kingdom, so that businesses and individuals have the infrastructure they need to trade, travel and do business across the whole country. To that end, in June, Sir Peter Hendy CBE was tasked by the Prime Minister with exploring ways in which transport can better connect the four nations of the United Kingdom, levelling up all parts of the country and helping us build back better from the pandemic. The Government are also announcing that the consultation on aviation tax reform, announced at Budget 2020, will be published in spring 2021.
The consultation will include options to change the APD treatment for domestic flights, such as reintroducing a return leg exemption or creation of a new lower domestic rate. In addition to looking at the case for increasing the number of international distance bands, we will continue to decarbonise domestic aviation as part of our ambition to reach net zero, including through mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels. All domestic aviation emissions are captured in carbon budgets.
The Government welcome the “Union Connectivity Review Interim Report” published today by Sir Peter. The report marks a key step in looking at whether and how connectivity across the UK can be improved in order to support this Government’s aim to build a stronger and fairer economy for the future. To support this, we are making £20 million development funding available to begin assessing options on road and rail schemes which have been identified by the review as crucial for cross-border connectivity. To achieve the aim of better connecting the UK, the report has considered the creation of a new UK strategic transport network that will allow people and commerce to move freely by road, rail, sea and air, spreading ideas and investment to all corners of this country.
This network of improved routes, which will now form the main focus of Sir Peter’s continuing investigations, would form the transport spine of the country, facilitating quicker and easier travel and trade between all corners of this country, levelling up communities and maximising national potential.
I am placing a copy of Sir Peter Hendy’s report in the Libraries of both Houses.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament. uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2021-03-10/HCWS838