Bombardier decision to hit Rutland firms

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INDUSTRY in the area could be hit by the Government’s decision to appoint German company Siemens as the preferred bidder for the contract to build new trains for the Thameslink line.

Derby-based train building firm Bombardier which works with local companies missed out on the £1.4bn contract in June when the Government made its shock decision. The contract was to build 1,200 carriages for the route between Bedford and Brighton.

Derby North MP Chris Williamson (Lab) is now calling on other MPs to petition the Government to change its decision and keep the train engineering industry in England.

He said: “Bombardier is the UK’s last remaining train maker and unless the Government changes its decision, it could be the end of the line for British built trains.

“Such an outcome would be a sad irony as it was Great Britain that gave the world the railways. But if we can secure the support of enough MPs from all sides of the House of Commons, including (Rutland MP) Alan Duncan we can still save this crucial industry.”

In July Bombardier announced that it would be cutting 1,400 jobs on the back of losing the Thameslink contract.

Managing director of Mecc Alte in Lands’ End Way, Oakham, which looks after the maintenance of the equipment on board Bombardier trains Andrew Bell said: “It is bound to have a massive impact on business overall.

“We do a lot of business with Bombardier and this decision is not going to be positive.

“It won’t lead to job losses here but it might mean we cannot employ new people in the long run. It won’t help our business growth at all.”

Power Factor System in North Luffenham will also be affected.

The company assesses the power supply of the trains and will lose business if production is moved to Germany.

A spokesman for the company said his company relies on industry in the Midlands and that the decision is a disgrace.

He added: “The decision by the Government to award the Thameslink rail contract to Siemens, shows a degree of ineptitude that beggars belief.

“All sectors of industry in the Midlands will be affected, either directly or indirectly.

“The loss of employment, the increased burden on the benefit systems, and the loss of tax revenue have not been factored into the equation.

“Neither the French nor German government would allow a major strategic industry to wither in this manner.”

Mr Bell says the only way around the decision will be to try and strike up a deal with Siemens if it is awarded the contract.

He added: “We do not do direct business with Siemens but we will engage with them to see if we could create a business relationship.”

The Mercury contacted Mr Duncan but he was unavailable to comment.