A SUPPORT package of up to £8million for Birmingham Airport is in the pipeline.
It follows an appeal by Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti in Parliament last Wednesday calling on the government to provide business rate relief for what he described as “the single greatest economic asset” in the region.
Mr Bhatti first outlined the economic hardship being faced by the aviation sector before calling on the Minister for Aviation, Robert Courts, to work with his colleagues in the Treasury to provide “innovative solutions” to support the industry.
Now Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has offered funding, the money being the equivalent to the business rates the airport would otherwise have to pay – meaning that Birmingham will pay nothing in business rates in 2020-21.
The money will also be used to support ground handlers.
It comes as Mr Shapps also announced plans to reduce the time needed in self-isolation after travelling abroad.
From December 15, passengers returning from overseas will be given the option of having a coronavirus test after five days in isolation, with a negative test releasing them from the need to isolate for any longer.
Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor has welcomed the news. He said: “The airport is an important local and regional employer, and a vital asset to the whole of the West Midlands economy.
“I have been pushing for some relaxation of the quarantine rules since they were introduced, as their impact on business travel in particular has been critical, and I’m sure the aviation sector will welcome the new testing plans.
“Along with the Government’s new testing strategy, I hope that this funding marks a real turning point for Birmingham Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in our community.”