Chris Williamson: The Transport Secretary should step in to halt rail contract, says MP
I SEE that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the Derby Telegraph that Bombardier has a future here (January 12). I hope he is right.
But he said "there will be no handouts" for Bombardier, even though nobody has ever asked for one.
However, the Thameslink contract is being taken forward as a private finance initiative and recent analysis has shown that these rail PFIs create an excessive financial burden.
And yet Mr McLoughlin seems prepared to spend hundreds of millions of pounds over the odds on what effectively amounts to a handout to support German, rather than British, manufacturing.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The previous Labour Transport Secretary, Andrew Adonis, commissioned Sir Andrew Foster to review the Intercity Express Programme, for which Bombardier had provisionally lost out to Hitachi. This contract had also been commissioned as a PFI (http://tinyurl.com/c4nv2wr).
The report was published after the general election and raised serious questions about the IEP's value for money. But the then Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, ignored the concerns about excessive costs, as did his successor, Justine Greening, who eventually signed it off last year.
Mr McLoughlin told the Derby Telegraph that if he started the procurement process again it "would take a huge amount of time that wouldn't help Bombardier".
That is simply not true. Experts agree that a new procurement process could be concluded in a matter of months and save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Moreover, Bombardier would then be able to compete for the Thameslink contract on a level playing field.
Mr McLoughlin is a Derbyshire MP, with constituents who work at Bombardier. He knows how important this industry is to Derbyshire and to Britain.
The existing tender documentation makes it clear that he is under no obligation to proceed with Siemens (http://tinyurl.com/4yoys6j).
So come on Patrick, do the right thing.