Small business welcomes decision to expand Heathrow
Following plans for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport receiving a green-light from the government, key industry bodies have welcomed the opportunities presented to small businesses.
Small firms in various sectors are expected to benefit from the £16bn procurement process to build the runway and associated works.
Overall, the expansion project is expected to generate up to £211bn in economic growth, alongside a boost of 180,000 jobs and 10,000 extra apprenticeships at Heathrow.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) led the praise of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s announcement to expand Heathrow instead of Gatwick Airport
“FSB agrees with the governments’ clear decision on the third new runway for Heathrow, which will help to boost international trade and create jobs,” he said in a statement.
Cherry continued by urging instant action in capitalising on the potential for growth and employment, calling for “budgets to be committed and shovels in the ground as soon as possible”.
The Airports Commission has confirmed that construction of the third runway will likely begin in 2020 or 2021, but the owners of the UK’s small firms will be looking to enter the procurement process as soon as possible.
Cherry was keen to highlight the contract opportunities available for British firms, committing the FSB to supporting smaller companies in the procurement process.
“We will continue to work closely with Heathrow to guarantee small firms will play a major part in the huge £16bn procurement exercise to build the runway and associated works.”
President of the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), Paul Drechsler, released a statement praising the forthcoming opportunities for British businesses.
“It will create the air links that will do so much to drive jobs and unlock growth across the UK, allowing even more of our innovative, ambitious and internationally focused firms, from Bristol to Belfast, to take off and break into new markets,” Drechsler said.
The manufacturing industry is one sector that is expected to see major business growth, with greater access to exporting opportunities around the world.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF manufacturers body, echoed the views of other industry leaders, labelling the decision for Heathrow expansion over Gatwick as “the right one for industry and the country” in accessing global markets following the UK’s exit from the EU.
“Heathrow will be a key linchpin in enabling post-Brexit trade, and this decision provides reassurance to manufacturers that access to direct, efficient and cost-effective trade routes to the rest of the world will be backed by action and not just words,” he said in a statement.
While Heathrow expansion has been largely backed by UK businesses, the announcement of the third runway follows a long-running campaign that saw many MPs and campaigners fight for alternative development at Gatwick.