Government branded “Gutless” over Heathrow delay

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Business groups in the UK are seeing red over the governments delay in making a judgement on which major airport to expand, with The British Chambers of Commerce going as far as to call them “Gutless.”

On Thursday, December 10,promises on a decision date were broken by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin when he announced, “No decision will be made before the summer of 2016.”

Sir Howard Davies compiled an independent report back in July which backed the idea of a third runway at Heathrow. However, the report did not rule out the other two alternatives of either an extra runway at Gatwick, or a runway extension at Heathrow. 

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Business groups said a decision was long overdue and asked why the government had gone to the trouble of tasking Sir Howard with an investigation, if it had no intention to follow his recommendations.

John Longworth, director general at the BCC said,”Businesses will see this as a gutless move by a government that promised a clear decision on a new runway by the end of the year,” The Institute of Directors also commented that business leaders would be “tearing their hair out” with frustration, while the CBI said it was “deeply disappointed.” 

With the government setting a very ambitious target of increasing UK exports to £1trillion a year by 2020, the IoD director general Simon Walker voiced his concern in saying, “If they can’t fly to emerging markets to make deals, our members are going to find it very hard to meet this aspiration.”

As claims that the delay is bad for the UK economy and that tough decisions were needed were being made, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive at Heathrow said he was confident that his airport would still be chosen.

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