Posted 5th July 2011 | 18 Comments
'We had no choice' over Thameslink order—Hammond
THE TRANSPORT SECRETARY Philip Hammond is defending his department's decision to award a £1.5 billion rolling stock order to Siemens, rather than Derby-based Bombardier. Bombardier, which is the last train builder in Britain, has announced the loss of almost 1,450 jobs, although two-thirds of those are staff on short-term contracts.
Mr Hammond and transport minister Theresa Villiers have been under fire for placing the order with a company which will build the trains in Germany, notwithstanding the possible creation of up to 2,000 supply chain jobs in north east England.
However, it's feared that up 18,000 other jobs are also at risk in the East Midlands if the Bombardier works winds down.
But it's emerged that the Thameslink order, even though it is for 1,200 vehicles, might not have saved the Derby works in its present form.
It's reported that Bombardier had already warned the government that it would shed some 1,200 jobs, even if it had won the Thameslink order, because other contracts would all have come to an end by 2014.
Mr Hammond told the BBC that the terms of the procurement had been set by the previous Labour government, and that there had been no alternative to awarding the contract to Siemens.
Cancellation of the process would have delayed the project by a further four to five years, which he felt was unacceptable
However, he conceded that other countries do take local economic factors into consideration when awarding contracts, which is permissable under European law, and he would now be investigating with business secretary Vince Cable how future procurements in Britain could be changed to include wider benefits.
Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.