The British Chamber of Commerce has branded the government "gutless" over delaying a decision on an expansion to Heathrow airport until summer 2016.

Director General John Longworth says the delay is costing the country business and trade, and has urged the government to 'get on' with implementing the recommendations of the Davies Commission and announce a decision before Christmas.

"I think businesses are going to feel really let down. The commission on airports was very clear: we need expansion at Heathrow in the very short term and I think the government has been gutless," said Longworth.

"My message to the government would be: get on and make a decision about south-east airport capacity. The commission was very clear about what we should do and we just need to get on and make that decision now," he said.

"We're allowing other airports to steal our business and we're allowing trade to diminish," he added.