By Marcus Leach

Business Secretary Vince Cable announced today, Tuesday, that he is to set up an Economic Response Task Force as a result of the ongoing review by Bombardier Transportation of its UK rail operations and today’s announcement that it has started a 90-day consultation process on proposed job losses at Derby.

The Task Force will be headed up by Margaret Gildea OBE, who runs Organisation Change Solutions, to mitigate the economic impact of job losses at Bombardier, its supply chain and the local communities. It will draw on representatives from Derby City Council, Derby City College and the Skills Funding Agency. Jobcentre Plus will also deploy its Rapid Response Service to support workers that will be affected.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

"I am very disappointed with today’s news from Bombardier Transportation that it has started consultation likely to result in significant job losses at Derby as a result of not winning the Thameslink contract.

“This will be a very worrying time for the workers and their families. I have asked Margaret Gildea OBE to set up a Task Force to work with Bombardier, BIS Local and other local partners in Derby. Margaret is a well respected local business leader and has plenty of experience having worked at Rolls Royce and been a Board member of Semta.

“Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, and I recently wrote to the PM to highlight the issue of public procurement and how we should manage the process in the public sector to sustain a competitive supply base that meets the UK’s strategic needs within EU procurement rules.

“We recognise that there is a need to examine the wider issue of whether the UK is making best use of the application of the EU procurement rules. The Government will now look at this area in the next phase of the Growth Review.

“My Department will work closely with Bombardier, during their ongoing review, as they explore opportunities to sustain their manufacturing base in the UK in the long term. It is vital that we retain these skills. And we will help the company explore any other international markets which are priorities for them.

“Longer term we will work with the rail industry as we develop our strategies to secure more sustainable supply jobs in the UK. Officials at BIS will work with industry and its representative bodies to support the UK rail supply chain to maximise business opportunities identified through contracts like the Intercity Express Programme, Thameslink and Crossrail.”

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