At a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses in Manchester, the new Chairman of Heathrow, Lord Deighton, said the airport’s expansion is a “huge growth opportunity” for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in every part of the UK.
He highlighted the significant growth in SMEs supplying Heathrow in just the past two years: the figures show that tier one direct suppliers to Heathrow are up from 20% in 2013 to over a third today – underpinning the importance of Heathrow to the economy and the clear opportunity that expansion will bring smaller businesses.
Lord Deighton said:
“In uncertain economic times, our £16bn privately funded expansion will stimulate up to 180,000 jobs and £211bn of growth across the UK. That is a huge opportunity for small businesses around the country.”
Heathrow has already planned logistics hubs across the UK including in the north of England and in Scotland. They will simplify the supply of products and services to the country’s biggest privately financed infrastructure project, the expansion of Heathrow.
Lord Deighton also challenged the UK to be positive and ambitious in re-establishing its position in the world. He said:
“Only Heathrow expansion will allow British exporters to trade with all the growing markets of the world, strengthening Britain’s position as one of the world’s great trading nations.
“By approving our expansion, the Government will send the strongest signal possible that Britain is open for business and confident in its future.”
Heathrow received a “unanimous and unambiguous” recommendation for expansion from the independent Airports Commission in 2015 following a two-and-a-half year, £20m study. It said the airport had by far the greatest economic benefits and that they would be spread across all of the UK.
The Commission also set out conditions for expansion including restrictions on night flights, controls on air pollution and noise. Heathrow accepted and, in most cases, exceeded those conditions in June.
Expansion of Heathrow is backed by business, trade unions, politicians and airlines as the best solution to Britain’s aviation capacity crunch. As well as the FSB supporters include the CBI, chambers of commerce across the country, Unite, the GMB, 37 British airports and airlines such as easyJet, which plans to operate from an expanded Heathrow. A large proportion of the local community also backs Heathrow.
Recent polling by ComRes shows that two thirds of MPs think greenlighting Heathrow expansion will strengthen Britain’s economy. MPs also ranked Heathrow expansion as the top infrastructure project for spreading growth across Britain – ahead of projects like HS2, HS3 and notably with Gatwick expansion last (Heathrow 41% vs Gatwick 3%).