Commenting on the impact of immigration queues on Britain’s trade and tourism potential, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, (BCC) said: 

“The queues we’ve witnessed at British immigration checkpoints this week are a national embarrassment, particularly ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee and this summer’s Olympic Games. Britain has long been a top destination for global travellers, both for business and leisure. We need to be ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to welcome travellers if we want to claim that our doors are open to global tourism, investment and trade.

 Businesspeople often tell us that one poor travel experience, a missed meeting or wasted time and money is enough to put them off doing business in a foreign market. We can imagine how images of long queues at Heathrow have affected the UK’s reputation as a place to do business.

With the eyes of the world on Britain this year, ministers must urgently get a grip of the situation and ensure that UK entry points are adequately staffed and working efficiently, particularly at Heathrow. Some damage has already been done, and the proposed strike by UKBA staff could not come at a worse time. Border delays put our reputation and future prosperity at risk. The problem of poor border management must be addressed now to avoid lasting damage to the UK’s reputation.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

Show the world that Britain is open for business, says BCCThe BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media Contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk