Call for airport-tax break for family holidays

MPs are discussing ways to stop the spiralling costs of taking a family on holiday outside school term time


An MP is pressuring the government today to cut or cancel airport taxes during school holidays to make family breaks more affordable.


Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming will call for the lifting of airport taxes today during a debate in Westminster Hall.

According to the Telegraph, scrapping Air Passenger Duty could save a family of 4 between £52 and £376 on a holiday abroad, depending on how far they fly.

The spiralling cost of taking a family on holiday outside school term times has already led to the signing of an e-petition by more than 200,000 parents calling for an end to fines for taking children out of school for a family holiday.

Other suggestions include regulating holiday prices to stop the spike in costs that coincides with school holidays or to stagger school term dates.

Last month, a couple from Shropshire were fined nearly £1000 for taking their children out for school for a week’s holiday in September.

So what are the new rules on term-time holidays?

Previously, headteachers in England were able to grant up to 10 days of leave a year for family holidays in “special circumstances”. But since September 1st 2013, they are no longer able to grant any absence except under “exceptional circumstances”

It’s every parent’s legal responsibility to ensure their children attend school and, if they fail to do so, they may be issued with penalty notices of up to £100. Failure to pay these penalties can lead to prosecution, with the risk of £2500 fine and/or a community or jail sentence.

“Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect,” says a Department of Education spokesperson. “Children who attend school regularly are nearly 4 times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent.”

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