THE Government could still award the Thameslink contract to Bombardier, a senior Euro MP claimed last night.
Brian Simpson, chairman of the European Parliament Transport Committee, said the Coalition is wrongly blaming EU rules for the £1.4billion contract going to Siemens.
He said: “I still think they could open it up again. It is only a shut case because they have shut their minds to it.”
Mr Simpson said Bombardier – which has laid off 1,400 workers at its Derby plant – could be named a “second preferred bidder”.
He added: “The Government has made a mistake over this decision and hoped after a bit of shouting it would be forgotten, but it is now desperately trying to find excuses.
“The Government has completely misled Bombardier by not fitting the specifications of the contract to what only Bombardier can deliver.
“That is exactly what every country in Europe does and that’s why all French dustcarts are made by Renault and all trains in Germany are built by Siemens.
The Government described Siemens’ cheaper bid as better “value for money”.
But the North West Labour MEP, said: “The difference between the bids amounted to £15,000 a carriage, about £18million in total, which in Government terms is peanuts – they’ll be spending more on the extra policing for the riots.
“Basically, it is going to cost them much more in the long run with redundancy costs, thousands of others in the supply chain being thrown on the dole and the future of train making in Britain in doubt.
“It is the economics of the madhouse. Now they are hiding behind the European rules issue as an excuse for their own inadequacies.”
The Mirror revealed last week that the Government spent £15million on consultants for the contract – and that Siemens has not built a vital component needed to build the carriages.
It has also been revealed that Michael Queen, a top adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, was a key figure in the investment firm backing Siemens for the Thameslink contract.
Mr Simpson said the Government has failed to take into account the social impact of the bid on Derby, where Bombardier – Britain’s last train maker – employs 3,000 workers and has a 150-year history.
European Union rules prevent domestic suppliers being favoured over foreign rivals on deals, such as the contract for 1,200 carriages for the Thameslink Bedford to Brighton line.
The European Commission regularly takes to court countries that fail to administer the rules.
Business Secretary Vince Cable blamed the “narrow procurement rules” on the last Labour government.
And a Department for Transport spokesman said there was no need to declare Bombardier “second preferred bidder” as it was already the “reserve bidder”.
Source – Mirror.co.uk