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Kevin Hollinrake MP: Benefits of Heathrow are clear - there's no reason to wait

3 min read

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake writes that the North, as well as the South, will benefit from the expansion of Heathrow with up to £25.5 billion in economic benefits forecast.

Last month I visited Severfield, one of the UK’s leading steelwork companies based in Thirsk in my constituency. What a fantastic example it is of British engineering.

Severfield has delivered projects across a diverse range of market sectors which include Leeds University Rose Bowl, Westfield Shopping Centre, Birmingham New Street Station, the Shard in London and numerous projects at Heathrow Airport.  

It was a reminder if ever I needed one of British expertise and innovation. But it also showed me just how important it is to keep pushing the boundaries. There are so many opportunities that we must not let pass us by and which the growing UK economy will now allow us to pursue.
This is why there can be no further delays on the decision for Heathrow expansion. We can no longer allow Britain to fall behind its competitors.

We badly need this extra airport capacity to cope with ever increasing international travel and trade. Unlocking capacity at the UK’s only hub airport could boost the economy by up to £211 billion and create up to 180,000 new jobs.  

A decision for Heathrow is not just about the South, it’s about the North too. That is why we in the North will get our fair share, with as many 31,600 new jobs and up to £25.5 billion in economic benefits.

Heathrow is not only a major international airport, it is also one of the UK’s biggest private infrastructure investors. The airport has spent £11bn on capital projects over the last 10 years, purchasing over 100,000 tonnes of steel, creating jobs and orders for companies like Severfield.

Heathrow and Severfield have a long history, having worked together on over 100 projects since the early 1990’s. In fact, Severfield was just one of more than 140 UK businesses that worked on the construction of Terminal 2, with the company supplying £50 million of steel.

This beneficial relationship will continue with expansion, with Heathrow committing to support the use of British steel in its future developments. I strongly welcome this commitment, which reflects the hard work underway by government to support British steelmaking and British steelworkers.

Heathrow’s commitment to British business is why, like me, Severfield and hundreds of businesses from the North and across the UK support expansion at Heathrow.

But it is not just expansion at Heathrow that we in the North need. We need to be better connected to an expanded Heathrow, which is why expansion must include direct rail routes linking the airport to the North ideally via HS2.

We desperately need this massive injection of rail investment into our regions which must also include improved rail and road connection between towns and cities. This is a vital element of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse programme, which will be a generational opportunity to tackle the structural imbalances which has kept the North so far behind the South, for far too long.

I am pleased that this government recognises the importance of vital national infrastructure. Pushing ahead with HS2 is a fine example. But once the EU referendum is out of the way there can be no more excuses and delays to Heathrow expansion. Now is the time for government to show that it is ready to push the boundaries and allow the British people to take full advantage of a growing economy.

For people and businesses in the North and all over the country the benefits of Heathrow are clear, there is no reason to wait.

Kevin Hollinrake is the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton

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