Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Hitachiballs - the lobbying continues

Telegrammed by Ithuriel
This from the Newcastle Journal...

BUILDING a fleet of new Intercity trains in the North East will save the country more than £100m rather than buying them from abroad, a new report argued yesterday.

Analysis by the Northern TUC shows that taxpayers would save substantial sums if ministers finally give the go-ahead for a train assembly plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The report comes as Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond prepares to announce in the New Year whether the proposals, put forward by Hitachi, will get the go-ahead.

There are also fears among some campaigners that ministers may decide to buy trains from overseas, despite that option not creating a single British job.

The research by the Northern TUC shows that more than £106m a year would be generated through the creation of 800 direct jobs at the County Durham plant along with 7,500 supply chain jobs.

And for every £27,000 salaried job created, the taxpayer gains by £13,000 as a result of reduced benefit payments and the increased taxes paid by people in work.

The Northern TUC is now urging the Government to take into account the full benefits of creating new manufacturing jobs in the North East when making its final decision about the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

Where to start in demolishing this farrago of nonsense.

Well, first, the trains would be 'bought from abroad' and simply assembled in the UK.

So the 800 direct jobs is out by at least a factor of four.

And, if the factory was to have a future beyond IEP Hitachi would have to win Crossrail, so the creation of flat pack assembly jobs in the North East might have to be offset against the loss of skilled engineering and train building jobs at Derby.

And if the alternative to IEP is a conventional EMU the suppliers would be, in alphabetical order Alstom - up to 30% UK content including traction equipment, Bombardier - trains built at Derby
or Siemens.

Odd, while this sort of lobbying is going on that the European train builders keep schtumm.

Perhaps they see the UK market as Hitachi's tar baby?

Or perhaps they are more concerned about the Chinese and Korean threats to their heartland markets?