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Infrastructure for the future

National infrastructure projects, like Heathrow expansion, are unique in the opportunities they create

By Heathrow Airport  

This article was produced in association with Heathrow

We are in the midst of an exciting moment for British infrastructure. With Government backing for High Speed 2, Hinkley and Heathrow expansion, Britain is taking vital steps to equip itself with the infrastructure it needs for the future, and which will help the country secure its place on the world stage as a strong and connected nation.

Heathrow is the UK’s largest port by value, handling over 30% of exports outside the EU and Switzerland. It is also the nation’s only hub airport, playing a unique role in the UK economy. Heathrow expansion means doubling cargo capacity at the airport, and the addition of dozens of new long-haul connections will help to boost exports across the country. It is a bold signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Today, we have a chance to ensure growth is spread more evenly in communities across the country. National infrastructure projects, like Heathrow expansion, are unique in the opportunities they create. Building a new rail line or runway creates jobs and growth: in Heathrow’s case, from the engineering apprentice in Hounslow to the small business trader in Newcastle. As national infrastructure projects, it’s our responsibility to make sure benefits and positive opportunities are shared nationally.

This means better connectivity for people and businesses across the country, especially outside of London and the South East. At Heathrow, we’re taking steps to boost domestic connectivity for all of the UK, supporting new routes from regions not currently linked to Heathrow, while improving and protecting current routes. In January this year, we launched a £10 passenger discount to domestic departing passenger charges, to make domestic routes more affordable today and strengthen existing connections. With expansion we have committed to introduce a £10m ‘route development fund’ to help establish new connections to UK airports from Heathrow. This will allow more businesses across the country, from the smallest SME to the largest exporter, to trade on a global scale. In turn, this will boost local economies across Britain, and drive tourism and investment into each and every region.

A truly national infrastructure project is one that delivers jobs and growth across the country. Heathrow expansion will create up to 180,000 jobs and up to £211bn in economic growth, spread across every region. But major projects like Heathrow expansion have an opportunity to go beyond this, to harness talent and create a legacy of skills for generations to come.

Through expansion we are creating opportunities for businesses across Britain. We have started the process to find four logistics hubs across the UK, to draw on talent and resources from across the country to build the new runway sustainably. We received dozens of applications and will be long-listing sites later this year. This innovative approach supports a legacy of construction excellence and skills around the country that can be exported to the world, and build up the reputation and profile of SMEs across the UK who will help us deliver Britain’s new runway.

SMEs are the lifeblood of the British economy, supporting jobs and growth in every community. Helping these businesses to grow will play a major role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; and infrastructure is vital to this. Stronger connectivity will boost trading opportunities for firms like Tregothnan Tea in the South West, who export goods to China today, and Miller Manufacturing in the North East, who will be able to get their goods to more new markets with new long haul connections from an expanded Heathrow.

SMEs are at the heart of our vision for expansion, and we know we need to support businesses today to help them make the most of access to new markets across the globe. We have recently launched ‘World of Opportunity’, our programme in partnership with Department for International Trade, which is awarding grants to Britain’s inspiring small businesses to help them reach and trade with new markets. Our Heathrow Business Summits have taken place in six locations across the UK this year, and are bringing SMEs face-to-face with our procurement team and major suppliers for expert advice and new opportunities, helping their businesses to grow on a national and international scale.

This important era for British infrastructure is a chance to strengthen Britain’s economy for the long-term. Heathrow is playing its part to make the benefits of expansion felt by people, communities and businesses all over the UK. But we must act swiftly and boldly, in these crucial early years as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, to ensure a thriving, sustainable economy for future generations. That’s why Heathrow is getting on with building Britain’s new runway, increasing exports to the world and creating more secure jobs at home.


With the support of Heathrow, Prospect will host panel discussions at the 2017 Conservative and Labour Party Conferences on how national infrastructure can empower UK SMEs to go global. Confirmed speakers include: Duncan Weldon, Associate Editor, Prospect; Lord Andrew Adonis, Chairman, National Infrastructure Commission; John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow; Bill Esterson MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and for International Trade; Stephen Kinnock MP, Chair, Labour Business Parliamentary Group; Dr Adam Marshall, Director-General, British Chambers of Commerce.

If you would like to register your interest to attend our events or to find out more about our thought leadership programmes, please email Saskia Abdoh.


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