Campaigners plaster Osborne’s constituency with “No 3rd runway” signs, to remind him of the cost to the taxpayer
Campaigners against Heathrow expansion have plastered Knutsford, in George Osborne’s constituency – Tatton in Cheshire – with No Third Runway signs. They put up the signs in Knutsford’s main street in the heart of the constituency, and one outside Conservative Party headquarters in the town. A new runway would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds. The date was chosen to coincide with the date on which tax returns must be submitted. The cost to the taxpayer of the infrastructure needed for a 3rd Heathrow runway are expected to be up to £20 billion. Only considering the cost of tunnelling the M25, and associated costs, was considered by the Airports Commission to be £5 billion. Working out how much £5 billion is, divided among the whole UK population, comes to over £77 per person. HACAN has also worked out that £5 billion would buy 83,000 new social homes or thousands of hip replacements, primary or secondary school teachers – or many huge new hospitals. (Figures below) HACAN Chair John Stewart, said, “The billions of pounds of Government money that would be needed for 3rd runway road and rail schemes might even make the Chancellor, George Osborne, think twice about backing it.”
CAMPAIGNERS PLASTER OSBORNE’S CONSTITUENCY WITH NO 3RD RUNWAY SIGNS
1.2.2016 (Hacan press release)
Campaigners against Heathrow expansion today plastered George Osborne’s constituency with No Third Runway signs. They put up the signs in the main street of Knutsford in the heart of the constituency, including one outside Conservative Party headquarters in the town. The campaigners wanted to get across to the Chancellor, thought to back expansion at Heathrow, that a new runway would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds (1).
Peter Jones, one of the Londoners who went up to Knutsford, said, “We deliberately chose the day after people have had to get their tax returns in so as to emphasise to George Osborne just how much public money will be needed to pay for the road and rail links for a third runway.”
The Airports Commission, which the Government set up to look at the need for new airports, put the cost at almost £6 billion. Transport for London has put it even higher. Heathrow has said it will pay no more than £1.1billion.
Pearl Jones said, “That leaves the taxpayer to find around £5 billion.”
Campaign group HACAN calculated that everybody in the country would each need to fork out £80 to pay for the road and rail links a third runway would need (2).
HACAN also unearthed evidence that £5bn could buy 83,000 new social homes or 835,000 hip replacements (3).[Hip replacements are estimated to cost about £6,000 each].
HACAN Chair John Stewart, said, “The billions of pounds of Government money that would be needed for 3rd runway road and rail schemes might even make the Chancellor, George Osborne, think twice about backing it.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). Heathrow would pay for the runway itself but not all of the associated road and rail costs.
(2). If the cost is £5 billion and the UK population is 63,182,000 (2011 census), that’s £79 each. [The population of the UK was 64,596,800 in June 2015 Link That’s £77.4 each]
£1 billion could pay for two flagship hospitals, such as Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital which opened in 2010. So £5 billion could pay for ten such hospitals. For mental health, £5 billion would provide an 8-hour course of talking therapy for 12.5m people.
With £1bn the government could, for a year, fund 27,000 primary or 22,000 secondary school teachers. So that would be – for £5 billion – 135,000 primary school teachers, or 110,000 secondary school teachers. [ie the cost is over £37,000 per year for a primary school teacher, or over £47,000 per year for a secondary school teacher] . Or £5 billion could give free school meals to 12.5m children.
Heathrow boss rules out footing the £5 billion bill for road and rail works – wants taxpayer to pay
The Airports Commission left the matter of who would pay for the approximately £5 billion needed to tunnel a section of the M25, and other surface access improvements, vague. The assumption has been made that the taxpayer would have to fund this, though the Airports Commission suggested that Heathrow would be able to find the funding from its investors for this. Now the CEO of Heathrow has dismissed the suggestion that the airport foots the £5 billion bill for road and rail work if a 3rd runway is built. Huge motorway engineering would be needed, to have the runway going over the motorway. John Holland-Kaye has ruled out paying for the surface access work. Though the government funds road and rail improvements under normal circumstances, tunnelling the M25 and dealing with hugely increased road traffic using an airport 50% larger than at present are not normal circumstances. Especially in times of huge economic savings being necessary in public finances. The Commission’s final report said it considered the runway was commercially viable “without a requirement for direct government support. This remains the case even in a situation where the airport is required to fund 100% of the surface access costs.” This would be by Heathrow “raising both debt and equity finance. This finance is then serviced through subsequent revenues and refinancing by the airport operator.”