SNP “promised” 16,000 new jobs if it backs 3rd runway – but that figure is crazily inflated – as Heathrow & DfT well know

The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway – which is likely. The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the 3rd runway.  Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on runway yet – and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit. Their backing may not be guaranteed, though that had been assumed – particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, believed there might be 16,000 Scottish jobs, created by the project. That figure of 16,000 jobs is what Heathrow has, for several years, been peddling. Along with similarly inflated claims for all the regions. The number was derived by a consultancy called Quod, in a flimsy little 4 page paper, with no methodology, no date, no author etc. It is based on the assumption that Heathrow would provide an economic benefit (NPV) to the UK, over 60 years, of £147 billion. That number is now known to actually be about £3.3 billion, at best (if not a negative number). The SNP would be very ill-advised to believe Scotland will benefit; in reality its airports would be damaged by allowing the runway. Tragic if they vote in favour of it, because they have not checked out the facts properly.


SNP wants guarantees on Heathrow runway

By Hamish Macdonell, Scottish Political Editor (The Times)
June 7 2018,

The Conservative government may need the SNP’s support if some of its MPs rebel against the new Heathrow runway

The SNP will demand guaranteed extra slots for Scottish flights into London in return for the party’s support for the third runway at Heathrow, its leader in Westminster has said.

Ian Blackford, the head of the SNP’s parliamentary group in London, said the party had not taken a decision on the third runway yet and would only do so if Scotland stood to benefit.

His remarks were being seen at Westminster as a warning to the prime minister that she cannot rely on unqualified SNP support for the project.

Chris Grayling, the UK transport secretary, announced on Wednesday that the Tory government was backing plans for Heathrow’s expansion including the construction of a third runway.

SNP support had been assumed to be guaranteed, particularly after Keith Brown, Scotland’s infrastructure secretary, hailed the 16,000 Scottish jobs which he said were likely to be created by the project.

The SNP’s approach on Heathrow expansion could be vital in deciding whether the scheme goes ahead. If all Conservative MPs vote for the expansion and are supported by the Democratic Unionists from Northern Ireland then Theresa May will not need SNP backing. But if any Conservatives rebel then the SNP’s votes could prove decisive.

Mr Blackford said: “Our job is to make sure we get the best deal for Scottish airports and Scottish aviation out of this as well. We want to make sure that the proposition that comes before parliament is one that we believe has economic benefits for Scotland.”



Heathrow runway: SNP promised 16,000 new jobs in exchange for backing project

By Francis Elliott, Political Editor (The Times)
June 6 2018,

The parliamentary battle for Heathrow’s third runway was effectively over before it even began when the SNP government in Holyrood came out in support.

The Scottish government was explicit about the price it extracted after what was effectively a bidding war with Gatwick conducted over several years. The deal included the promise of a new “logistics hub” for the construction of the new runway and the pledge to make more landing slots available at Heathrow for flights from Scottish airports.

Four hubs are to be built around the UK that will assemble parts for the expanded airport before transporting them to Heathrow.

Announcing its backing for the plan, the SNP’s economy secretary, Keith Brown, said that the airport would lead to the creation of 16,000 new jobs in Scotland. “We have been clear from the start of this process that we wanted the best deal for Scotland and building a third runway at Heathrow provides the most significant benefits to the country’s economy and connectivity.”

Significantly it was only after the SNP gave its backing for Heathrow in October 2016 that Theresa May finally took the decision to agree to the third runway. At the time the SNP had 54 Westminster seats, more than enough to offset any Tory rebellion. Confident that she would not face a humiliating defeat, the prime minister went ahead with an attempt to get the proposal through parliament.

Although the SNP tally has reduced to 35 after last year’s election, the basic parliamentary arithmetic remains unchanged. As an insurance, Heathrow also has the support of most of Mrs May’s allies in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which was won over in much the same way, as well as the support of scores of Labour MPs and the unions.

Just to make sure of the DUP backing, a team from Heathrow are visiting three sites in Northern Ireland this week that will also be bidding to become one of the logistics hubs for the runway’s construction.

In fact, the airport has a long-list of 65 potential sites for the hubs, carefully spread across the country, in a move that would appear designed to maximise support from regional groups of MPs. It is also promising to spread the “supply chain” opportunities to smaller companies in ten similarly carefully located “business summit locations”.

In its press release shortlisting the 65 from an initial 121 last November Heathrow said that the hubs would “create jobs in every corner of the UK”. “Once finalised, the final four selected locations will pre-assemble components of the expanded airport before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow, playing a key role in supporting expansion’s efficient delivery.”

The airport is less clear about when the final decision to site the four hubs will be taken but it seems a fair bet that it will not be until the runway has cleared all its necessary parliamentary hurdles. With thousands of jobs to dangle and £16 billion to spend, Heathrow has been ruthless in leveraging support of regions desperate for a share.

SNP backing may be crucial in vote over third Heathrow runway

5 June 2018

The SNP is expected to back the UK Government’s decision to go ahead with a new Heathrow runway in a crucial Commons vote despite Tory backbench opposition.

Prime Minister Theresa May has permitted ministers with long-standing opposition to the scheme to voice their views at a local level.

The Scottish Government hopes an extra runway will boost business links and increase tourism in Scotland.

Arch critic Foreign Secretary Boris Johnston is tipped to miss the vote by being abroad.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling yesterday announced plans to press ahead with a third runway at the UK’s sole hub airport three years after it was recommended by a government-appointed commission into expanding Heathrow or rival Gatwick.

Ministers are expected to have to rely on opposition parties such as the SNP to get the plans approved next month. The SNP refused to comment officially but a source said it was “broadly in favour of Heathrow expansion due to the economic benefit it would bring to Scotland”.

It added: “A decision on the vote will be taken when details become available.”

Backing would see rare agreement between the UK and Scottish governments, with Scottish Secretary David Mundell describing Mr Grayling’s announcement as “a step forward for Scotland”.

The Scottish Government is counting on more Scottish flights, boosting tourism and business links. Economy secretary Keith Brown said: “We will now push for clarification from the UK Government about a number of issues, including how it intends to guarantee [landing] slots for Scotland.

“Building a third runway at Heathrow has the potential to provide the most significant benefits to the country’s economy and connectivity.”

Mr Brown also referred to Heathrow’s pledge to base a “logistics hub” in Scotland for the project, perhaps at Prestwick Airport, as an important part of its offer.

Business groups reaffirmed their backing for Heathrow.

Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive Liz Cameron said they looked to MPs to “green light this vital infrastructure project”.

However, Edinburgh Airport, which is co-owned with Gatwick, said: “We remain unconvinced of the argument for Heathrow and its ability to successfully build a third runway. We are sceptical about this happening at all.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats condemned the plans as “expensive folly that will badly hurt the environment”. The Scottish Greens said growing aviation “makes no sense”.


See earlier:


Gordon Dewar (CEO of Edinburgh airport): MSPs mistaken to back Heathrow ‘monopoly’ that harms Scottish airports

Gordon Dewar (CEO of Edinburgh airport, with same owners – GIP – as Gatwick, so not a fan of Heathrow expansion) says the Scottish Government made a mistake when it supported Heathrow’s third runway, which will create a “huge monopoly” in the South East and undermine Scotland’s airports. He says while Heathrow is spending a lot of time and money trying to get Scottish backing for its 3rd runway, the  reality is that allowing Heathrow to become bigger would be “to the detriment of Scotland’s airports and Scottish travellers, and those around the UK for that matter.” He says while – in order to secure the Scottish Government’s support – Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye made a number of promises “about the appointment of Scottish suppliers and the use of Prestwick Airport as a logistics hub. He also promised 16,000 jobs, £200m of construction spend and £10m of cash to support route development in and out of Scotland.” ….Dewar says those backing Heathrow’s runway should “ask how those promises are being delivered and what safeguards are in place to ensure that they are.” (None?)

Quod report – this is where the spurious figure of 16,000 jobs came from.

The flimsy little 4 page paper on which the claims of jobs etc is based is by “Quod” and is at
(Heathrow has taken down the link. Wonder why??! !)

Here is a better link to it:
Quod report
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 later 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.
The job numbers in the Quod report are based on the  GDP level of £147 billion benefit.
A report looking in detail at the economics of the 3rd Heathrow runway, by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) – published on 26th March 2018 – showed that the total Net Present Value (the best tool to measure it, taking all positive and negative impacts into account) was absolutely tiny.
Over 60 years, the net economic benefit (NPV) of the runway, for the whole of the UK, including Scotland, would be – at best 0 £3.3 billion. It could easily be a negative figure.
So with the methodology that Quod used, there would be a very, very tiny number of jobs indeed. The SNP should NOT be hoodwinked by Heathrow’s duplicitous numbers, and the “carrot” of 16,000 jobs, which almost certainly will NOT materialise.



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.



October 2016

SNP comes under pressure as questions surface over Heathrow lobbying

28.10.2016 (

As the SNP confirms its support for a third runway, transparency campaigners question influence of the airport industry on Scottish politics

THE SNP have come under pressure from campaigners and opposition parties in Holyrood for alleged connections between the lobbying of operators at Heathrow and the recent decision by the party to back the Heathrow expansion.

This week (Tuesday 25 October) the SNP confirmed their support for the creation of a third runway at Heathrow, noting the benefits in jobs that would come to Scotland as a result and criticised the UK Government’s “indecision”.


During the SNP’s October 2016 conference, Heathrow operated a “private airport style lounge” with exclusive access given to business and party delegates as well as members of the media.

Equipped with a free bar the lounge was set up, according to Heathrow’s operators, to “promote the benefits of the expansion to Scotland” and was the second such promotional event to feature at an SNP party conference, following their presence in Aberdeen in 2015.

Both Heathrow and the SNP refused to comment before the conference on how much the lounge cost, according to the Herald the party had charged an upper limit in its conference brochure of 23,000 for sponsorship of conference events.

Earlier in October, CommonSpace revealed that the SNP charged £5,000 for non-profit organisations to set up stalls at their autumn conference. The Herald also revealed sponsorship deals between big business and the SNP with firms charged £15,500 to put their names on lanyards, £12,500 for delegate bags and £2,000 to sponsor a creche at the conference.

and there is much more at