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Billy Wood

Report set to examine impact of Heathrow expansion on SMEs

Heathrow Airport is to commission a report to look into the impact of any potential expansion on the UK’s SME community.

The joint consultation, which will be carried out with small business support group Enterprise Nation, will look closely at the expansion plans and work out what economic impact they will have for SMEs across the country.

The study, which is to begin in February, will seek the views of Enterprise Nation’s community of over 65,000 small businesses to gauge how they feel the airport’s development plans will impact them.

Once completed, the findings will be used to develop an SME growth strategy within Heathrow’s expansion plans, focusing on what can be done to drive SME export growth in line with the Government target of over £1 trillion of UK exports by 2020.

Founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones, commented: “Exploring ways to make exporting more accessible and achievable for small firms is a key focus for us this year. We see firms all the time that are exporting all over the world – sometimes directly from their kitchen table.”

“What will be fascinating to explore will be how they feel about growth, what they need to take their business to the next level and how intervention and support can be tailored to boost their existing export capacity to drive that growth.

“A quarter of all UK exports by value already travel through the airport. It will be interesting to see how an expanded Heathrow could make a real difference at a time when more people than ever before are starting and growing businesses.”

Heathrow Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye, believes an expanded Heathrow would prove a boon for SMEs and welcomed the consultation. He said: “SMEs are the backbone of the British economy. With expansion we’ll open up 40 new trading links and improve domestic connectivity; making it cheaper and more efficient for SMEs to sell their products in fast growing markets around the world,”

He added: “I’m delighted that Enterprise Nation and small businesses across the country will be looking at our expansion plans and I’m excited to hear their ideas on what more we can be doing to help them grow.”

The findings of the report are due to be published in April.

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