Friday, 5 August 2011

Who depends on whom?

Yesterday bhx got their usual positive headline in the Birmingham Post "Birmingham Airport increases profits after cost-cutting" as they released their annual report.

Behind the spin we can see a picture of a business model that is not exactly going to be the jet engine which drives prosperity to Birmingham, but quite the opposite. In 2004, we showed that their predictions were faulty in terms of job creation and economic benefit:

"there are now about 1,000 fewer jobs than 1994 and there has been only a 20 per cent increase in the airport's contribution to the region's coffers over the decade."

This was after they had promised an 80 per cent increase in jobs over the decade from 1994 at both the airport and in related local industries and a 120 per cent growth in wealth generated for the West Midlands economy. Now this year they are boasting about reducing employee costs by 11% and cutting 75 jobs.

We have been sold the idea that the runway extension is vital for the region as it will bring employment and prosperity and that is why £25 million of public money is being put into subsidising it.

Now though, CEO Paul Kehoe says; "We need the economy of the West Midlands to start to recover faster than other regions. If the West Midlands starts to perform we will start to perform."

Isn't that the wrong way round? If we're putting tax payers' money into building new capacity for this environmentally damaging industry because it's so good for the economy and allows it to grow, why are they no longer promising to bring benefits, but relying on us to all start earning more and flying off to spend our money on flying abroad again (the numbers of flights was well down on last year again, as was turnover).

Are they finally admitting that the airport just takes money out and puts very little in?

Joe Peacock

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