Millions of travelers could be hit with a new tax to pay more Border Force personnel at airports.
Cuts on the number of officers and a wave of passengers have been blamed for delays of up to two and a half hours with some passport inspections this summer.
The government is considering how to improve security at the borders and reduce queues without being dependent on public funds.
The government is considering how to improve the security of passport controls and reduce queues without being dependent on public funds
One option is a new tax attack on people who are flying in and out of the country, on top of the unpopular air passenger service, according to insiders from the higher aviation industry.
Yesterday evening, Grant Shapps, Tory MP and chairman of the Cross-party Big Infrastructure Group said: "It would be a surprise if passengers who already have one of the highest tax rates in the world have received a new tax on their use airports.
The government must think twice before creating new taxes, making it more expensive for families to go on vacation. & # 39;
A fleeting reference to the plans was made in a report from the Department for Transport published in April, setting out the objectives of the new aviation strategy.
It quoted a consumer group report Which? indicating low levels of passenger satisfaction with queues at passport control at seven of the 13 airport terminals examined.
The DfT report states: "In order to provide excellent border services while continuing to increase passenger numbers and increasing passenger expectations, the government will consider whether there are additional or alternative financing mechanisms".
It pointed out that "a number of other countries have already introduced such schemes", but stressed that there would be a consultation if "important new reimbursement mechanisms were to be introduced".
This could replicate the controversial border-clearance tax introduced in 2016 in New Zealand. Passengers flying into the country have to pay an arrival tax of 15.79 New Zealand dollars (around £ 8) and a departure tax of $ 2.94 (around £ 1.50). This is added to the costs of tickets.
Delays of up to two and a half hours have been felt at some passport checks this summer
But a comparable fee in Britain would be even more controversial, since airline passengers already pay one of the highest tax rates in the world in the form of air passengers.
This charge – £ 13 per flight for economy class passengers a short distance and £ 78 for longer journeys – is expected to generate € 3.5 billion for the Treasury this financial year. Business and first-class passengers must pay double.
A major source from the aerospace industry said last night: & # 39; It is very worrying that passengers can pay for what is a core responsibility of the government – keep our border safe and ensure that the service that travelers experience is acceptable.
We already raise one of the highest tax rates on air travel in the world. We have to avoid the kind of situation that we saw at Heathrow this summer [where passengers faced two-and-a-half-hour queues] but it should not happen on the backs of passengers. & # 39;
The government reduced the budget for the border guard by more than 8 percent to £ 565 million between 2012/13 and 2016/17. In the same period, the number of passengers increased by nearly 25 percent.
The number of full-time Border Force officers also fell by nearly 10 percent in two years from 8,332 in 2014/15 to 7,602 in 2016/17.
The budget of the Border Force was reduced by a further 2.3 percent last year, although the number of permanent employees rose to 7,674.
The Interior Ministry said: & # 39; We are constantly considering options to improve the experience at the border and this includes how the border should be financed. & # 39;