The bid to save Bombardier has got a major boost, with the introduction of a crucial, new clause in the £1-billion Crossrail contract - in a revelation yesterday, the four firms in the fray for the lucrative deal, have been asked to explain how their proposals would benefit the UK economy.
The UK government hopes the clause would level the playing field for Bobardier, Britain's last train-maker, unlike what came to pass with the Thameslink fiasco when the government handed over a £1.4-billion carriage deal to German rivals Siemens, leading to a loss of 1,400 jobs and aroused public anger.
According to rail insiders quoted by The Independent, the clause in the Crossrail bid was similar to those in France and Germany that helped boost local firms.
The new requirement is likely to enable Derby-based Bombardier to point to the nearly 10,000 jobs it would create in the supply chain across Britain in the event it won the 2014 contract to make 600 carriages for the line from Berkshire to Essex through London.
The other bidders for the project are Siemens, Hitachi of Japan and Spain's CAF.
According to transport secretary Justine Greening, bidders would need to specify how they would engage with the wider supply chain and provide opportunities.