Bombardier: £15m 'insult to injury'
The Government "added insult to injury" by spending £15 million on consultants for a rail contract that was awarded to a German company, union chiefs said.
Campaigners have called for ministers to switch the £1.4 billion contract from Siemens to Derby-based Bombardier, which has announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs after losing out on the work to build rolling stock for the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton.
In a written answer to the Commons, rail minister Theresa Villiers said: "From May 2008, the department has spent approximately £13.1 million (excluding VAT) to date on specialist consultants and advisers to evaluate the Thameslink Rolling Stock project.
"This resource has included financial, procurement, technical, legal, planning and other specialist advice required to deliver the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project, which is one of the largest rolling stock orders in the country.
"Of this figure, £5.3 million has been spent since May 2010."
Bob Crow, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), told the Mirror: "The news that over £15 million of taxpayers' money has been soaked up in advisers' and consultants' fees to oil the wheels of the Bombardier stitch-up just adds insult to injury.
"This money could have been invested in defending train manufacturing jobs in the UK, not filling the pockets of City consultancy spivs.
"It's time to bring this whole shabby exercise to a close and for the Government to step in and award this contract to the Derby workforce."
Business Secretary Vince Cable on Monday met officials from Bombardier to discuss its plans after losing the lucrative contract. He also held talks with Derby Council and members of the economic taskforce set up to deal with the job losses.
During the visit to Derby, Mr Cable said: "We will work closely with Bombardier, during their ongoing review, as they explore opportunities to keep their manufacturing base in the UK in the long term. There is evidence of growth in Derby and the surrounding areas."