London airport expansion: 50+ business leaders including Michael Spencer, Sir Martin Sorrell and Martin Gilbert tell David Cameron to "get a grip"

 
Lauren Fedor
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Sir Martin Sorrell is among the chiefs who signed the letter (Source: Getty)

More than 50 business leaders, including dozens of chairmen and chief executives of blue-chips, will hit out at the government tomorrow over its failure to make a decision on airport expansion.

In an open letter to be sent to Prime Minister David Cameron, ICAP chief executive Michael Spencer, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell and Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert, among others, will say delaying a decision on a new runway was “regrettable”.

“The Airports Commission has already spent three years and millions of taxpayers’ money examining the evidence,” the bosses will say. “It was established so that a difficult decision, fundamental to our long-term prosperity, could be made without being bogged down by politics.

“Its clear recommendation was to build a new runway at Heathrow. We remain fully supportive of the Commission’s work and its recommendation and believe the government should listen to the experts it appointed and just get on with this vital upgrade to our national infrastructure.

Legal & General chairman John Stewart, O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne and Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston are also understood to have signed the letter.

“Every further period of delay is costing the UK economy billions in lost trade and investment and damaging our economic competitiveness,” they will add. “The message this sends out to global investors is equally disastrous.

“We urge the government to get a grip on the decision to build a new runway by committing to announce a clear and final decision by no later than the end of May 2016.”

The government said in a statement last week that it would “undertake a package of further work” considering the environmental impact of expansion before making a decision. The transport department said the “further work” would likely “conclude over the summer,”

Tomorrow's letter marks the latest intervention by business groups, who last week called Cameron “gutless” over his lack of decision.

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