Glenis Willmott accuses Government of Gross incompetence over Bombardier decision.


Glenis Willmott, MEP for the East Midlands and Labours leader in Europe, has accused the Government of gross incompetence, after failing to promote UK train-building or creating jobs and growth in the East Midlands.

Mrs Willmott’s comments come after the Conservative Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, blocked a bid by the Mayor of London to acquire carriages for London’s Crossrail directly, rather than through a Private Finance Initiative which could favour train-building firms outside the UK.

Mrs Willmott said:

“As if it wasn’t already crystal clear, the Transport Secretary’s decision shows that the Government has no intention of promoting the UK train-building industry or creating growth and jobs in the East Midlands.

“It also shows that the 1,400 job losses at Derby’s Bombardier site have nothing at all to do with EU rules – and everything to do with the Government’s own decisions.

“The Transport Secretary refused to look again at the decision to award the Thameslink contract to Siemens, despite being told she could legally do so by the European Commission. Now, she is once again refusing to consider an option for Crossrail which could promote UK train-building and create jobs in the East Midlands.”

“This is another sign of gross incompetence from this Government, who are happy to talk up UK manufacturing, but then let down those highly skilled workers who may lose their jobs as a result of poor and naive decision making”

The Conservative-led Government dealt a severe blow to the UK’s train-building industry earlier this year by awarding the Thameslink contract – another London train-building deal – to German firm Siemens. This prompted 1,400 job losses at the Bombardier site in Derby, and risks thousands more indirect job losses throughout the East Midlands.

Although the Government attempted to blame EU rules for the decision, the European Commission has since confirmed that the Government is within its rights to begin again and make a new decision.

The previous Transport Secretary asked by Derby South’s Labour MP Margaret Beckett whether he would revisit the Thameslink decision, said in the House of Commons:

“We have to comply with EU law, and I do not have the power that she suggests I have.”

However, in response to a Parliamentary Question from Glenis Willmott, the European Commission confirmed that:

 “EU public procurement rules do not prevent a contracting authority from re-launching the tendering procedure for the award of a contract.”

Despite this, Transport Secretary Justine Greening has refused to revisit the Thameslink decision. In a letter to Derby North’s Labour MP Chris Williamson, she said that going back to the procurement process would cause delays to Government plans. She also repeated the claim that the decision was a result of EU rules.

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  1. Kulgan of Crydee says:

    I can’t seem to find where Glenis Willmott condemned the Labour party for giving the £7.5Bn Inter-City contract to the Japanese instead of Bombardier in 2009 let alone the £1.5Bn ThamesLink contract.

    I do agree that the Coalition Government was wrong to award this contract overseas.

    I don’t expect this post to be allowed. But hey, I am trying to engage.

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