As the Airport Commission approaches its conclusions and a general election looms, the City of London wants political party leaders to declare their hand now on airports policy in the new government.
James Stamp, KPMG’s head of transport puts it particularly clearly:
“We welcome the progress being made by the Airports Commission. However, we believe that the debate about whether new capacity is needed has been resolved; the question that needs to be answered now is, where and when?
“UK PLC will only benefit from the work of the Commission if action is taken, and this will require political will. A clear and unambiguous commitment from politicians, who aspire to be in power following the next general election, will benefit everyone: providing clarity, removing uncertainty, and allowing the UK to defend and grow its competitive position.”
Stamp’s request is likely to fall on deaf ears.
Tory leader David Cameron, who promised not to do anything until the new government is in place, but then to follow the Commission’s recommendations, will see no party advantage in making any such early declaration.
Labour leader Ed Milliband, despite the fact that the previous Labour government had accepted a White Paper proposition for a Heathrow third runway, will find the political challenge too risky, so will meekly join Cameron in silence.
And Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, whose party wants no airport expansion, will see no political advantage in declaring his hand before necessary.