By Maximilian Clarke
A commons select committee report into the Government’s decision to award the lucrative Thameslink contract to Siemens has suggested that the contract may have been unfairly awarded, adding that the National Audit Office should scrutinise the contract in full.
The decision to appoint the contract to Siemens at the expense of the Canadian Bombardier led to 1,400 workers being sacked from the company’s Derby plant. Unions, who reacted furiously to the decision, have welcomed the report. Commenting this morning (Friday), the Deputy General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Frances O'Grady, said:
“This report vindicates concerns that the TUC and rail unions have raised repeatedly with ministers over the last eighteen months.
“The Thameslink procurement process has been flawed throughout. In particular, the Select Committee report supports our view that the financing arrangement that forms part of the tender skews the market. Bombardier never had a chance.
“It is still not too late for the government to do the right thing for Bombardier, its workforce, its suppliers and the UK taxpayer, and change its decision.
“The government must also learn lessons and conduct future procurement in a way that benefits UK business and taxpayers.
“Rolling private finance into the Thameslink tender has been a disaster as it benefits the UK's competitors and provides poor value for money at a time when public borrowing is significantly cheaper. This mistake must not be repeated in the Crossrail contract.”
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