Letter to Cllr Malcolm, Chair of LLAL

With reference to the letter of 08/01/20, (Luton News) from the Chair of London Luton Airport Ltd, Cllr Malcolm, thanking everyone for attending their recent consultations, and supplying feedback comments which will be carefully considered in the work up to their final Direct Consent Order application.  Cllr Malcolm raises several points as to the benefits of airport expansion; can we ask him to clarify some points please?

Members of a local anti-expansion group, along with several other opposed groups and politicians from various parties attended the majority of these consultations, to canvass the views of those attending, and to offer alternative perspectives to the plans they’d seen inside. The overwhelming consensus was to no expansion, and how to ensure that their responses could make this very clear, and not be misrepresented as they had been in the previous non statutory consultation.  All said that the current airport size and operations already had too great a negative impact on their quality of life, and these impacts needed to be fully addressed before any more expansion. 

Cllr Malcolm, if every feedback comment will be “seriously considered and listened to”, will you be honest enough to say that No Expansion was the clear result of your consultation, and stop all development plans, until aviation technology has advanced to negate all the current environmental impacts it currently creates?

Cllr Malcolm mentions the rise in Council income from the airport, from £6.7 million in Financial Year 2011/12, to £20.1 million in 2018/19.  The figure for 2011/12 was the dividend paid by LLAL on total concession income of £25.259 million.

For 2018/19 the £20.159 million was from a total concession income of £51.044 million.

So yes there have been substantial rises over that period, but for 2014/15 when a concession fee of £31.542 million was received, the dividend paid to Council services was just £1.25 million.

As Chair of the LLAL Board, and therefore with his Cllr colleagues the deciders of the dividend paid, could he explain why there was the fluctuation in dividend paid that year?  We must also remember that once the taxman has had his share, all the concession income is LBC’s anyway, so why it not all is paid into Council service to fill budget shortfalls first and any surplus then awarded to charity or invested in projects?

The figures for the 2018/19 were that on a passenger throughput of 17,154,573, a concession fee of £51,044,000 was received, and a dividend of £20,159,000 paid. This equates to £2.97 per passenger concession fee, and a dividend to services of £1.17 per passenger.

Cllr Malcolm references the DART project at a cost of £225 million, add to this the costs for the Direct Consent Order process currently undertaken of £48.5 million, and the costs of the Terminal 2 access road of £170 million, a decision on this is to be made this month, which are all projects to be funded solely by LBC/LLAL at this point of time, which gives a total debt of £443.5 million for current airport projects.

Money which will be recovered if the right deal can be agreed with any prospective new concessionaire in 2031, but currently funding will need to be found now.  If we divide this debt figure by the number of passengers for 2018/19, we get a debt figure of £25.85 per passenger.

Cllr Malcolm, could you please explain why you and your Cllr colleagues think that entering into debts of £25.85 per passenger is an acceptable business plan to recover £1.17 per head? What is the forecast year for the residents of Luton to see a positive financial gain from these huge investments?

Speculative investment is the role of wealthy banking group and multinational companies. It is not the role of a small Borough Council, who continually pleads their difficult financial position, yet happily hand resident’s money to banks and not them.

We can think of many things in Luton that urgently require a fraction of the figures,  planned to be spent on these purely speculative projects, as can every Luton resident, it’s a pity that our elected members simply can’t see this?

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