The Derby Telegraph is today hailing victory in its campaign to save the city’s train manufacturing industry after forcing the government to change its procurement rules.
Outrage greeted last June’s announcement that a £1.4bn rail contract would be awarded to the German company Siemens rather than Derby’s Bombardier plant.
The Telegraph launched a bid to overturn the decision which has since resulted in rule changes which will give UK firms a better chance of winning government contracts in future.
As a result, Bombardier has agreed to retain a design and manufacturing base in Derby, preserving 1,600 jobs.
The paper’s ‘An Industry Betrayed’ campaign saw editor Steve Hall fly to Berlin to make a personal plea to Bombardier’s bosses to save the plant.
More than 50,000 people signed a petition against the original decision and 10,000 people staged a protest rally in the city.
Steve wrote in an editorial published today: “While we weren’t able to overturn the Government’s decision, we were able to convince it to line up £0.3bn of work to keep the Derby plant going for the next three years and, crucially, to change procurement rules to help UK firms stand a better chance of winning Government contracts in future.
“This gives Bombardier a strategic reason to maintain its design and engineering plant in the city.
“There are many who deserve praise for their contribution to such a successful campaign.
“Politicians of all colours have united in Derby’s cause. The city council has played a massive role. Marketing Derby and the city Renaissance Board had key parts, as did the unions and, we would humbly venture, this newspaper, which has featured Bombardier’s plight in its columns every single day since the Thameslink announcement on June 16.”
Steve has now been appointed as a member of a government task force overseeing efforts to boost the city’s wider economy after it secured £40m from the regional growth fund.
Today’s Telegraph front page combines the celebration of Bombardier’s announcement with news that Rolls-Royce has made record £1bn profits.