Jobs warning to Airports Commission
by Jim Dunton Thu 12 December 2013, 4:59 pm
Hounslow Council has warned that closing Heathrow Airport in favour of a new international air hub could cost 36,100 jobs in the borough and 70,000 in the wider west London area.
The stark figures come as the government’s Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to publish its initial report on ways to ensure that demand for UK runway capacity is met.
They are based on independent research carried out by Parsons Brinkerhof and Berkeley Hanover Consulting, which offers a comprehensive analysis of the impact on the economies of Hounslow, Ealing and Slough of the most likely longer-term options for future airport capacity in London and the South East in the period to 2030.
The consultants looked at six possible scenarios for the airport, based on likely options the commission will consider, and calculated that the closure of Heathrow - in favour of a new hub in the Thames Estuary or elsewhere - would risk some 70,000 jobs.
Of those, 36,100 would be in Hounslow, 16,800 in Ealing, and 17,000 in Slough.
Hounslow Council deputy leader Colin Ellar said the closure of Heathrow should not be contemplated.
“Losing Heathrow would be disastrous for jobs in Hounslow, for our neighbours in Ealing and Slough and as the report states, very likely for UK PLC,” he said.
“Sir Howard Davies and his commission colleagues need to take into account the economic wasteland they would create for employment if they go with the nuclear option of a brand new estuary hub.
“At a time when the UK’s economic recovery is in its fragile infancy and needs to be nurtured, it would plunge west London into a new recession from which it might never fully recover.
“The commission has to sit up and take notice of the dire consequences for our local economy, as well as regional and national impacts.”
The study also contends that Heathrow’s hub status and transport links remain critical to the location decisions of many major corporate global headquarters and internationally-oriented UK companies.
It argues that the IT/telecommunications cluster within Slough, Hounslow and in neighbouring local authorities may need to relocated if Heathrow were closed, raising the possibility that such businesses may relocate outside of the UK, rather than near any new London air hub.
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