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Cameron pledges to review EU procurement regulations

14 July 2011

David Cameron has suggested his government is prepared to challenge EU procurement rules in light of the controversy surrounding train manufacturer Bombardier.

The coalition was strongly criticised last month after transport secretary Philip Hammond announced that German firm Siemens had won a £1.4 billion deal to build new trains for the Thameslink route.

Bombardier, a Canadian company that employs 3,000 people at its UK factory in Derby, said it would be forced to make substantial job cuts after missing out on the contract.

Up to 1,400 people are now facing unemployment and union leaders have urged the government to reconsider the move.

However, the prime minister claimed his hands were tied by the terms of EU bidding criteria adopted under the Labour administration.

In comments reported by the Telegraph, Mr Cameron told the House of Commons: "We inherited the procurement process from the previous government.

"But we are now looking at all the procurement rules in Europe and making sure that better decisions are made in the future."

Union bosses have said they will seek specialist advice and possibly mount a legal challenge in a bid to save jobs at Bombardier in Derby.

Assistant general secretary of Unite Diana Holland claimed politicians, media and members of the public had been left "shocked" by the government's decision.

Last month, Mr Hammond and business secretary Vince Cable wrote a joint letter to Mr Cameron, calling for the application of EU procurement rules to be reviewed.

According to the Financial Times, the two MPs urged the prime minister to consider a more strategic approach to public procurement on a large scale, while continuing to work within the EU framework.

"The current phase of growth reviews should examine what more we can do to improve the business environment for companies competing for government contracts," the letter stated.

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Categories: Central Government

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