Nick Clegg speech: No mention of aviation was ‘elephant in the room’ for business



Commenting on the speech by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, John Longworth British Chambers of Commerce Director General said:


“Nick Clegg did not hold back while criticising Ed Miliband for forgetting to mention the deficit – but his own speech addressed the economy only in brushstrokes, without any detail. We’re pleased that Nick Clegg is keen for the economic recovery to spread to every part of the UK, but he failed to explain how his party would go about reducing the deficit and drive economic growth in practice. 


“We are pleased that he mentioned investment in infrastructure and in a context of fiscal responsibility. But the real elephant in the room for business was the subject of aviation, given this week’s earlier vote to rule out aviation expansion at any UK airport. Nick Clegg decided not to even mention this ruling, let alone providing an explanation. No political party should rule out options for aviation expansion when the need for more capacity is so apparent, and this could have a huge impact on trade, and the UK’s future competitiveness.”


On the green agenda and energy efficiency:


“Nick Clegg is clearly committed to the green agenda – and while we acknowledge the sector’s importance, we disagree that the UK should adopt unilateral measures on climate change that increase the cost of energy for businesses.


“He also announced that a Liberal Democrat government would do more to boost energy efficiency. If they are serious about this agenda, then energy security cannot be ignored. The BCC is calling on the next government to develop and implement a 50-year UK energy security strategy that reduces energy dependency by maximising all sources available, including shale, and ensuring that energy is used more efficiently”.


On tax-free childcare:


“Nick Clegg has recognised that childcare is a key issue for both employers and working parents. His measure to extend tax free child care to all two, three and four year olds is well meaning, but the Childcare Contribution Scheme proposed by the BCC is far more practical and would come at no cost to the tax-payer.


“This proposal would help working parents manage the upfront costs of childcare and spread payments over a longer period, so those who want to remain in work can do so. Unless the next government addresses the cost of childcare for working parents, the UK will lose out on the talents of people who can help drive business success and wider economic growth.”