Review urged over award of train contract

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A GOVERNMENT spending watchdog should review the process whereby Germany, not Britain, won a lucrative train building order, a report by MPs said.

Amid controversy, Derby-based company Bombardier, which announced 1,400 job losses last summer, lost out to Siemens of Germany as preferred bidder for a train carriage contract for the £6bn Thameslink project.

In its report today, the House of Commons Transport Committee said it would be in the public interest for the procurement process to be independently reviewed.

The committee has written to the head of the National Audit Office – the Comptroller and Auditor General – to ask him to undertake the review and to report to Parliament before summer 2012.

The committee Labour chairman Louise Ellman said: “We could not evaluate whether the decision to choose Siemens was arrived at correctly because all of the bids were and remain confidential.

“We believe that in the public interest an independent review must evaluate whether this massive contract was awarded correctly on the basis of the criteria in the original invitation to tender.”

The report said there was now widespread agreement that the criteria used in the procurement were too narrowly drawn in excluding socio-economic factors.