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GTMC welcomes focus on transport in election manifestos but there is more work to be done

Following the announcements by the main political parties of their election manifestos, the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has welcomed the focus on key transport issues including airport capacity in London and the South East and High Speed Rail. However the GTMC argues that more needs to be done to ensure that transport and, in particular, business travel can work to deliver growth for the UK economy.

The GTMC’s own election manifesto calls for the next UK Government to take swift and decisive action in response to the findings of the Airports Commission. This is a point reiterated by the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP who have all stated their commitment to making a swift response to the Davies review and address the issue of airport capacity.

In addition, the GTMC has called for increased investment in transport infrastructure across the UK to ensure there is a regional balance beyond London and the South East so that companies can compete on a level playing field. Support for HS2 has been confirmed by the three main political parties however UKIP and the Green Party have stated their opposition to this development of the rail network. Disappointingly none of the major political parties have included a commitment to connect the High Speed rail network to Heathrow Airport. Recent GTMC research among business travellers revealed that over half support High Speed Rail projects.

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is also notable by its absence but wider manifesto declarations around increases in spending suggest that it will remain. Whilst there have been reductions recently for the leisure market, the business traveller is still unfortunately feeling the full effect of APD which presents another barrier to international markets and economic growth.

Paul Wait, CEO of the GTMC comments: “It is encouraging to see that transport has been acknowledged by the main political parties ahead of the forthcoming election and is firmly on their agenda. That said, the fact that none of the main parties have stated their position on APD is disappointing. Our latest research highlighted that over half (51 per cent) of business travellers said they would fly more frequently following the introduction of a simplified or reduced APD structure. There is a distinct short-sightedness from government in recognising the potential value that increased travel and trade to international markets can bring to the UK economy. Across the board we urge the next government to place transport at the top of its “to do list” so that business travel has the infrastructure in place to deliver economic growth.”

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