19th September 2007
Support the British Economy – Stop Stansted Expansion
Stop Stansted Expansion (‘SSE’) today launched a new phase in its campaign aimed at raising awareness of the adverse impact upon the UK economy of the inexorable growth in cheap leisure flights.
SSE’s new campaign 8’ x 4’ roadside sign boards feature the Union Flag alongside the SSE campaign logo with the message “SUPPORT THE BRITISH ECONOMY – STOP STANSTED EXPANSION”.
Figures published by the Office of National Statistics last month show that the UK tourism deficit continues to grow rapidly. During the first six months of this year, UK residents took 34.3 million overseas trips – almost double the number of trips to the UK by foreign visitors (17.5 million).
The difference in expenditure was even more marked. UK residents spent £17.7 billion abroad during the first six months of 2007 compared to £7.9 billion spent by foreign visitors to the UK.
The dramatic deterioration in the UK trade balance on inward and outward tourism over the past ten years coincides with the boom in cheap leisure flights and SSE has provided extensive evidence to the current Stansted Airport Public Inquiry to demonstrate that BAA’s proposed expansion of Stansted Airport would give rise to an even bigger UK trade deficit and cause further damage to the UK and East of England tourism industry.
BAA is seeking permission to handle an additional 10 million passengers a year at Stansted Airport (more than either Luton or Birmingham Airports currently handle) but admits that just 290,000 of the extra passengers would be business passengers (145,000 round trips) and that the additional capacity would primarily cater for more and more UK residents on cheap leisure breaks overseas.
SSE Economics Adviser, Brian Ross commented: “The purpose of this new phase in our campaign is to raise awareness of the adverse economic consequences of expanding Stansted Airport and to encourage a wider debate so as to challenge the longstanding myth that airport expansion is always good for the economy.”
Mr Ross concluded: “Approving further expansion of Stansted Airport would undoubtedly serve the interests of its Spanish-owners and its main customer, Irish-owned Ryanair but this would entirely be at the expense of the UK economy and of the many thousands of taxpaying local residents around the airport who would suffer the consequences.”
The travel and tourism statistics for the first six months of 2007 were published by the ONS on 13 August 2007 and can be viewed at www.statistics.gov.uk/. Reference sources for other statistical information quoted in the above press release can be provided by SSE upon request.