September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
Shadow transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick has slammed government policy when he addressed GTMC members in London.
He said the government’s decision to split the High Speed 2 routes into two bills, with the second – including the crucial Heathrow spur link – not being announced until 2015 was “very disappointing, because we think they could move forward much more quickly”.
The Poplar and Limehouse MP said the south-east of England needed a four-runway hub, but warned that by the time the Davies Commission on aviation reports in 2015 the country would have “lost a decade”.
He added: “The coalition are slow on aviation, and slow on HS2.”
Fitzpatrick said when Labour promised a third Heathrow runway at the last general election, Conservatives opposed it “because a clutch of west London seats were up for grabs and they thought opposition to the third runway would win those seats for them.
“In the event they won two seats in west London, and both of those were on the back of the expenses scandal - not Heathrow.”
He said surveys of people in west London showed overwhelming support for Heathrow because it is the economic driver for the whole area, as well as the M4 corridor and beyond.
Fitzpatrick added that GTMC members were “in a pivotal position” between their corporate clients and the airlines, and urged them to engage with these partners to “speak more loudly” to decision-makers within government.
New GTMC chief executive Paul Wait said the guild plans to invest in research and data capabilities to strengthen its lobbying activities, and to reinforce awareness by government and corporates of the return on investment in business travel.
“Research proves that investment in travel benefits the bottom line,” said Wait.