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Budget 2012: Osborne announces South-east airport white paper

Chancellor George Osborne addressed the “lack of airport capacity in the South-east of England” in today’s Budget by announcing that a white paper on airport infrastructure will be out this summer.

Mr Osborne announced that Transport Secretary Justine Greening will “set out” government thinking this summer.

“We cannot cut ourselves off from the fastest growing cities in the world,” Mr Osborne said.

PwC welcomed the Chancellor’s pledge to confront the lack of airport capacity in the South-east. Head of airports Colin Smith said:

“The Chancellor has acknowledged we are in danger of cutting ourselves off from the fastest growing cities in the world if we do not tackle this issue head-on.  

“If London wishes to maintain its position as a world class business centre, then it will need world class facilities. Airports are critical to keeping London open for business. For some years our airport infrastructure development has lagged behind other European and global capitals due to a multitude of factors, including lack of space, regulatory constraints and inefficient ownership structures.

“This is particularly critical when centres of commerce are springing up across the developing world - which currently can’t be served by UK airports. If London continues to lag behind in airport development, then it would be ‘giving away’ business to other trade centres such as Frankfurt and Paris, who would be servicing emerging market economies far better than London.”

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