The leaders of 35 of Britain’s biggest companies warn today that no political party can claim to be serious about governing unless it makes a public pledge to back airport expansion.
Signatories to the letter to The Telegraph include Sir Winfried Bischoff, chairman of Lloyds Banking Group; Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next; Sir Adrian Montague, chairman of 3i Group; and Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP.
The intervention comes two days after the Airports Commission’s interim report shortlisted expansion of Heathrow and Gatwick as the best options for meeting future capacity requirements.
Despite the economic argument in favour of building a new runway, all the main parties are saying they will wait for Sir Howard to produce his final report after the general election in May 2015.
But the business leaders say in their letter, organised by the Let Britain Fly campaign, that that is not good enough.
“We believe that any party which is serious about governing Britain must go into the 2015 election expressing a clear commitment to airport expansion and must at the very least agree to be ‘guided’ by the Airports Commission’s final report.
“As the Airports Commission has acknowledged clearly in its interim report, doing nothing is no longer an option.”
Clear political support for more airport capacity now would make it easier for any future government to move ahead quickly to authorise expansion projects soon after the election, the letter argues.
“The findings of the Airports Commission are compelling, in particular that all of London’s main airports will be full by the end of the next decade unless action is taken soon after the next election,” it says.
Meanwhile, business secretary Vince Cable suggested on the BBC Radio 4 programme today that Britain should be “making more use of provincial airports… London is becoming a giant suction machine”.
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