SNP misled by Heathrow inflated claims of number of jobs for Scotland due to a 3rd runway

The SNP decided to give its backing to a Heathrow runway, rather than one at Gatwick – having been led to believe that the only choice on offer was between these two. They were led, by Heathrow PR, to believe there would be greater benefits for Scotland. The SNP hoped to get exports from Scotland (salmon and razor clams) shipped through Heathrow. The Airports Commission came up with a figure of economic benefit from a Heathrow runway of UP TO £147 billion to all the UK over 60 years. Heathrow got a consultancy called Quod to work out the number of jobs. They came up with the figure of 16,100 jobs for Scotland (over 60 years) from the runway. The DfT has now downgraded the £147 billion figure, as it included various speculative elements, and double counted benefits. The new figure (also still far higher than the reality) from the DfT is UP TO £61 billion for the UK over 60 years. That, pro rata, would mean up to about 9,300 jobs for Scotland – not 16,100. It is unfortunate that the SNP were misinformed, as were other MPs, Chambers of Commerce etc across the regions.  Heathrow also pledged benefits for Scotland such as using its steel for construction, and using Prestwick as a base. The Scottish Green party see the SNP backing of a Heathrow runway as a betrayal of those badly affected by it, and of Scotland’s climate commitments.



Greens: SNP ‘bailed out’ Theresa May over Heathrow

27 October 2016 (BBC)

The co-convenor of the Scottish Greens has launched a scathing attack on the Scottish government over its support for a third runway at Heathrow
Patrick Harvie said the move meant Scottish ministers had surrendered their commitment to climate justice.  He said the SNP had “bailed out” the prime minister, who faces a revolt among her own MPs over the issue.

The Scottish government insists the new runway will have major economic benefits for Scotland.  [That is what Heathrow told them ….. see below].

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced on Tuesday that the Heathrow expansion had been chosen as the government’s preferred option ahead of a rival bid by Gatwick.

The Scottish government formally backed the Heathrow bid after the airport made a list of commitments to Scotland, including creating up to 16,000 jobs and investing £200m in the country.

Heathrow also said it would help to develop new domestic routes to Scottish airports, and would investigate whether Prestwick Airport – which is owned by the Scottish government – could be used as a “logistics hub” for the new runway.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Harvie said Scotland’s commitment to climate justice apparently “doesn’t apply to people living under the flight paths at Heathrow”.

He said a third runway would cause a quarter of a million extra flights a year and a massive increase to emissions – which he said was the single biggest threat to the whole of the UK meeting its climate change targets.

It would leave thousands of people’s homes too noisy and too polluted to live in, and unknown tens of thousands more left suffering the damaging health effects, Mr Harvie claimed.

He added: “I can only imagine the outrage, and I would join it, from the Scottish government and from their colleagues at Westminster if the UK government was to inflict this kind of damage on so many lives in Glasgow or in Inverness or in Dundee in exchange for alleged economic self-interest.
“Yet they will now troop through the voting lobbies to bail out a Tory prime minister who stood for election saying no ifs, no buts, no third runway.
“What is the point of a principle like climate justice when it is surrendered so easily?”


Mr Harvie described Heathrow’s estimate of 180,000 jobs created by the plans as “pie in the sky” and “about as believable as the job projection figures for Donald Trump’s golf course”.

Referring to the presence of Heathrow representatives at the recent SNP conference in Glasgow, he said: “We’re not surely going to fall for this are we? What were the Heathrow bosses putting in the drinks at SNP conference?”

In response, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the decision was one for UK ministers, but her government had looked at the option that would deliver the greatest benefit to Scotland’s economy and connectivity.

She said: “On the economy there’s the potential for significant construction spend in Scotland and thousands of jobs.

“In the nearer term there is potential for a supply chain hub at Prestwick, which is extremely important in terms of economic impact and jobs, a £10m route development fund, a reduction starting in January in passenger charges that will make service between Scotland and Heathrow much more viable and a new marketing campaign as well.

“These are the reasons on which our decision was based.”

The first minister also said Scotland had a “strong record” on meeting climate change targets and had shown “global leadership” by including aviation emissions in reduction targets.

She added: “These will always be difficult decisions to strike, and difficult balances to strike, but meeting our climate-change targets but also ensuring we have the infrastructure to enable our economy to grow and support jobs – these are not mutually-exclusive objectives.”



Scottish Government backs third runway plan

10/10/2016   Scottish Government website

The Scottish Government has announced its support for plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport, after securing key commitments for Scotland.

  • The creation of up to 16,000 new jobs across Scotland from the new capacity.


And then after the Heathrow announcement on 25th October, with lower economic benefit claims, no mention of those jobs:

Lord Ahmad outlines benefits of Heathrow expansion to Scotland

26.10.2016    (DfT press release)

“A new runway at Heathrow would boost jobs across the UK, lead to more flights and better connections, and link Scottish businesses to expanding global markets, Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said at Glasgow Airport today”.

[No indication of thousands of jobs ….]


Net Present Value (NPV)

The  measure used by the DfT and the Airports Commission for the future benefit to the UK of a new  runway is NPV.  (Net Present Value).  A definition of NPV can be found here.

Quod report

The flimsy little 4 page paper on which the claims of jobs etc is based is by “Quod” and is at
It has no date, no author, almost no references ….
Their table from the Quod report – which is being used by the regions etc – is copied below.
(The Airports Commission itself never anywhere said anything about 179,800 or even 180,000 jobs. This is extrapolation by Quod for Heathrow.  AW note)
And another table shows a total benefit for Scotland of £14 billion. But that is over 60 years, and it is derived from the assumption from the Airports Commission that Heathrow would provide a total benefit to the UK of £147 billion, over 60 years.
(This table appears to have been created by Quod, and is not from the Airports Commission – it us using Quod’s own methodology.  AW note).
The DfT has now reassessed this figure of up to £147 billion, (Quod etc of course use the £147 figure, and forget that it is “up to” …) and decided that it cannot be relied on.  It includes benefits from trade and other assumptions that cannot be justified, and risk double counting.
So the DfT has now come out with a figure of benefit to all of the UK of up to £61 billion (not £147) for all the UK over 60 years.  This is far lower than the £147 figure – in fact is it only 41.5% of it.
The job numbers in the Quod report are based on the  GDP level of £147.
Therefore, even if the assumptions in the Quod report are correct (and it is not clear in their paper how they have calculated the numbers, as there is no detail) the job figures should all be reduced by about 58%.  That would make the number of jobs, in Scotland, over 60 years, as more like 9,300 – not 16,100.