Heathrow delay could cost €43bn, says business group

The UK could lose up to £31 billion (€43bn) in trade by 2030 because of the failure to increase flights to Brazil, Russia, India and China alone, according to research.

The Confederation of British Industry said the study shows the stark need to build a new runway at Heathrow, as recommended last week by the Airports Commission.

If there are delays to new runway capacity beyond 2030, the annual cost to the UK economy in lost trade with the countries could be up to an additional £5.3bn, which will rise each subsequent year, the business group warned.

Welcoming prime minister David Cameron’s pledge to make a decision on the Airports Commission’s recommendations before the end of the year, the confederation said it wants to see diggers on the ground by 2020.

Its deputy director Katja Hall will tell a Runways UK conference in London: “Delaying the decision to build a new runway will have a very real economic cost for our country.

“The commission has been clear in its recommendation to the government, and so are we — get on with building it without delay.

“A new runway will help rebalance our economy, prevent us handing opportunity to our rivals and avoid a future bill for our inaction.

“When it comes to airport capacity, time is money. We’re not just missing out on global opportunities, but paying an economic price right here in the UK.

“Our failure to increase flights to Brazil, Russia, India and China countries alone will cost the UK as much as £31b in lost trade in the period it takes to build a new runway.

“We welcome the prime minister’s guarantee that he will deliver a decision this side of Christmas.

“He is right too — delaying into 2016 is too late,” she said.

 

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