Heathrow expansion no boost for economy
Heathrow expansion must go ahead, say Ministers, or London will be transformed overnight into a third-world city, whose population huddle under the yellow glare of street lamps and burn copies of thelondonpaper to keep warm. Not so, claim consultancy firm CE Delft, who have released a HACAN-funded report which debunks the economic arguments in favour of expansion.
The report explodes the myth that expansion and the economy are intrinsically linked. The DfT claim that each extra passenger brings £120 into the economy, putting the net benefit of expansion at £4.4 billion over 70 years. But CD Delft point out that this ignores the huge tax subsidy to the industry (currently around £10 billion per year). The overall benefit is closer to £30 per passenger. Additionally, £3 billion of the projected economic benefit will be money raised by the Government through aviation duty - leaving a direct boost to the private economy of about £1.4 billion a year.
But surely if there was no airport expansion, everyone would stop spending money immediately, sending us into a Great Depression? Not according to the report, which makes the logical assertion that "the money currently spent on aviation would be spent in alternative ways in other sectors if there had been no aviation".
The government's ludicrous distortion of the economic benefits of expansion makes it all but impossible to compare other modes of transport (such as a fancy high-speed train) with flying. The Department for Transport is so hooked on jet-fuel that it's clouding their thinking and messing with their number-crunching. It would be tragic if the risk of expansion weren't so serious.
As every argument in favour of expansion collapses, the case against a third runway strengthens. Is there any likelihood of Kelly and her Ministerial cronies backing down? Sadly, pigs will fly before that happens...