Letter To PM About Bombardier

If Bombardier closes three thousand jobs would be lost in Derby.


Business leaders've written to David Cameron to ask him why he gave a £1.4 billion train building contract to a German firm - instead of Bombardier in Derby.

As a result Bombardier could now close - and three thousand people would lose their jobs.

The head of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce today accuses the last two Governments of being “prisoners of highly-paid, London-centric civil servants” who operate a procurement process that is “highly prejudicial to UK manufacturers”.

See the letter in full:


Dear Mr Cameron


I am President of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, the third largest Chamber in the country, which has Bombardier as one of its key Members.

The Chamber is seriously concerned at the Government's decision to award the Thameslink Carriages contract to Siemens, having already awarded the IEP contract to Hitachi.  This has sharply illustrated the failure of the Government's procurement process to relate to UK manufacturing capacity.  Whilst there are European rules on this matter, there are ways in which procurement and the evaluation of contracts can be undertaken to ensure UK companies receive advantageous treatment.

In the decision made last week to award the Thameslink contract to Siemens two public statements have been made.  Firstly that the order was awarded based on the best value for the taxpayer and secondly that when making the decision Ministers were not aware of the identity of the bidding companies, which is not a requirement under EU procurement rules and is not done anywhere else in the EU. Clearly these two statements conflict.  If Ministers made the decision purely on the tender price, that is not "best value for the taxpayer" if in consequence a major manufacturing facility in the UK closes with thousands of redundancies.  The cost of this closure/rationalisation would more than outweigh any advantage of the winning bid.

My Chamber believes that your Government and the previous government are prisoners of highly paid civil servants in London who devise and operate a procurement process prejudicial to manufacturing in the United Kingdom.  This "London centric" view takes no account of the need to sustain and build manufacturing activity in the country as a whole.  It must be a high priority for your Government which has stated that it needs a renaissance in manufacturing to stimulate growth in the economy to make civil servants realise that they have a duty to help manufacturers.

Now that we know that one of the consequences of your Government's decision to award the contract to Siemens may be the closure of the last train manufacturer in the United Kingdom, we would ask that you publish the comparative value of awarding the contract to Siemens against the cost of the destruction of the train manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.

Our Members understand and support the procurement of goods and services which offer the best value and price. We firmly believe in open, contestable markets but there is a growing belief in the business community here and around the country that not everyone is playing by the rules. In the transport market alone we are not aware of any trains, trams or buses procured by the French government or local authorities that are not made or assembled in France. In Germany we understand that well over 90% of their transport procurement is German. All of these countries operate under the same EU procurement rules, yet still achieve this without infringing these regulations. 

I am aware that representatives of Derby City Council have requested a meeting with you and would hope that the content of this letter will be discussed when such a meeting takes place.

Yours sincerely

Ian Morgan



cc:     Deputy Prime Minister

          Chancellor of the Exchequer

          Secretary of State for Transport

          Secretary of State for BIS

          Director General of BCC

          Leader, Derby City Council

          Chairman, Bombardier