The order for 1,200 Thameslink trains, likely to be worth over £3bn, instead went to Siemens on June 15. The German company will only create a few hundred UK jobs as a result.
The shadow business secretary will tell a Progress event that the decision not to award the Thameslink contract to Bombardier, which employs 3,000 in Derby, was “a huge blow to the UK rail industry”.
Denham will stop short of arguing that British jobs should always trump other factors (such as cost) when government procurement decisions are taken. That would not be an entirely credible position.
But he will say:
The Government let it happen. We must make this a turning point in industrial policy. No longer should good jobs and skills be lost because our government doesn’t have the procurement policies, the industrial policies or the leadership to enable UK companies win orders in fair competition.
I wrote a fortnight ago about the possibility of Bombardier closing the plant or at least cutting staff numbers as a generous pipeline of orders starts to slow down.
UPDATE: Some Tories are rather bemused by this given that the tendering process was started under a Labour government which set the specifications.