Heathrow expansion to “supercharge” Northern Powerhouse?

14 October 2015, Blog

The Conservative split on Heathrow expansion has this week been dragged to the centre of George Osborne’s flagship policy of the Northern Powerhouse. Heathrow has claimed expansion of the nation’s largest airport would “supercharge” the Chancellor’s plans to build a northern powerhouse, saying it would be a “driving force in rebalancing the UK’s economy”.

In what appears to be an attempt by Heathrow to win over the government and gain support for a third runway at the site, the airport’s campaign claims that expansion would create 95,000 manufacturing jobs alone, of which 85 per cent would be created outside of London and the South East. It has the potential to firm-up the support from the government, which is still to decide on the Davies Commission’s recommendation for expanding the West London airport before Christmas.

Critics of the plans for a third runway however, many of which are prominent voices within the Tory ranks, still believe the move would be a disaster. Both current and prospective Mayors of London Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith are staunch opponents.

Yet newly appointed Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell (the MP for Hayes and Harlington who sits directly beneath the flightpath) as well as Labour mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan have also made their opposition clear. But with Cameron and Osborne’s ‘one nation’ pitch to Britain, can they now afford to spurn Heathrow in favour of the dissenting voices in the capital?

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