It has been a long time coming but today Transport Secretary Justine Greening finally put local jobs firmly in the spotlight for the new Crossrail project. Last year Bombardier, who own Britain's last remaining train factory, cut 1,400 jobs as a result of losing out on the Thameslink contract to German company Siemens. The justification for that decision was based on compliance with EU trade regulations.
The government have now decided to adopt the well established French and German system whereby the contract will be written in such a way as to force the bidding companies to prioritise job creation and stimulation of the local economy. This in no way violates EU law but simply recognises the importance of businesses giving something back to the communities in which they work.
Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle concurred, reiterating the importance of job creation "at a time of rising unemployment". There are now four companies in the bidding for the Crossrail contract, three of those based internationally and the fourth the depleted Bombardier. It is important for the government, and Crossrail, not to be seen to be restricting the free market but this will hopefully signal the beginning of a more socially and economically responsible awarding of large-scale work contracts in the UK.