Britain must be seen to be open to business

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Open for business

The UK needs to avoid a repeat of last week's immigration queues or risk seeing business affected, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned.

John Longworth, director-general of the organisation, claimed that people could be put off doing business in the UK if they are forced to wait for long periods upon arrival.

He said the queues witnessed recently at British immigration checkpoints are "a national embarrassment", particularly ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee and this summer’s Olympic Games.

"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," Mr Longworth stated.

"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."

Mr Longworth said images of long queues at Heathrow are likely to 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," he added.

"Border delays put our reputation and future prosperity at risk."

Posted by Dan Smith