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Government criticised for awarding £7.5 billion train contract to Japanese consortium

The UK government is today under severe pressure after awarding a £7.5 billion contract to upgrade the InterCity 125s to a Japanese led consortium. Unions and Labour backbenchers are said to be up in arms at the move which potentially puts at risk a number of UK jobs. However, in many ways the government cannot win because each and every party commenting today had their own particular angle and their own particular interest.

If the government went with a higher cost which would potentially secure a number of UK jobs they would stand accused of being biased, with potential legal action. Gordon Brown has taken the more sensible route by appointing the best consortium at the best price thereby ensuring, as much as possible, work being completed to deadlines and within budget. It remains to be seen whether the prime minister can actually ensure that a substantial number of UK workers are involved in the project as there is speculation that much of the work could be carried out overseas.

It will be interesting to see how many UK jobs can be secured, with a suggestion from the government that the figure could be as high as 12,500, although many are already doubting this figure before the project has even begun!

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