British MPs ask govt to support airports in England and Wales
London – A group of British MPs have called on the British government to take urgent measures to support airports and protect jobs in England and Wales.
A total of 25 MPs, including MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma, have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, saying that airports in England and Wales have been asked to pay Business Rates as if they were functioning normally. While airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland have received support from their governments, English and Welsh airports haven’t had anything.
“Thousands face being made redundant because of falls in revenue for many businesses and certain industries almost completely drying up. Aviation is one of the hardest hit, almost no long haul routes are open and passenger numbers are down to tiny fractions compared to the start of the year,” the MPs said.
Under the current system while a business such as Tesco which has seen growth during Covid-19 has received £585 million in Business Rate Relief our Airports have seen not a penny, they said in a joint letter.
“We call on you to provide support to all English and Welsh airports in line with that afforded by Scotland and Northern Ireland. This will allow airports to continue to employ people, pay other taxes and support the Covid recovery we all so badly need. We recognise this will in some areas cause an unacceptable shortfall in local authority income and so we ask you to compensate them for that loss and replace lost income to those affected local authorities,” the MPs said.
Passenger numbers have in some cases fallen by 99% and more than 100,000 in the industry alone are facing the risk of unemployment. The aviation industry lost nearly £2 billion in the four-month period between March and June alone, which is equivalent to around £15 million each day.