PRESSURE is mounting on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to review a decision not to award a £1.5bn contract to a North-East train builder, after it emerged production would be moved to Austria.

Yesterday, The Northern Echo exclusively revealed Siemens will manufacture two-thirds of the new 94 Deep Tube trains to serve the London Underground's Piccadilly line in Vienna.

The decision is understood to have been taken because firm's new factory in Goole will not be operational until 2023, the year when the first Deep Tube carriages are expected to be delivered.

Last year a joint bid between Newton Aycliffe-based Hitachi and Bombardier lost out in the bidding process, a decision which was condemned by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, claiming Mr Khan and Transport for London had "undermined their commitment" to UK manufacturing and Siemens had "pulled the wool over their eyes".

The Northern Echo:

The Unite union yesterday joined calls to review the decision, describing the overseas production revelations as "deeply concerning" and "totally unacceptable".

Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen described the decision as a "kick in the teeth" for Hitachi, whilst Labour MPs Alex Cunningham and Anna Turley said they were "appalled" and "devastated" respectively.

Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing, said: “These latest developments are deeply concerning. It appears promises made by Siemens to support UK manufacturing and ensure that public money was spent here in the UK are now being broken.

“This is completely unacceptable and I have joined Phil Wilson in calling on the Transport for London and the Mayor of London to immediately review the contract.

“The unsuccessful bid from Hitachi and Bombardier should now be reassessed and the social and economic benefit of supporting skilled jobs and communities here in the UK prioritised."

The Northern Echo:

Mr Houchen said: “This is a kick in the teeth for Hitachi – I’m hugely disappointed the Mayor of London has selected an Austrian firm over a ready-made factory in the North-East.

“Local people are rightly fed up seeing huge contracts being awarded to foreign companies. Once we leave the EU, the government and bodies like Transport for London need to completely re-think the rules – it is critical that British companies and British workers come first."

Mr Cunningham said: “I don’t know what promises Siemans made to Transport for London but I am absolutely appalled that trains worth over a £1bn will be built in Austria when we have the capacity to do the work here in the North-East.

“We are hearing today that many firms are set to shut up shop and move jobs to other EU countries once Brexit is completed so work like this is all the more critical.

“Hitachi has invested heavily in our area – its time all those responsible for projects like this followed their lead and helped create and sustain highly skilled jobs for our people."

Ms Turley added: “This decision is devastating news for one of our biggest manufacturing success stories in the North-East.

"It is also a blow to the supply chain which includes many firms across Teesside who will now miss out on work.

"I urge TFL to revisit their contracting process to ensure it supports UK manufacturing."

Union bosses warned earlier this week that Hitachi was facing an "increasingly concerning" future when current orders for new trains run out next spring.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said EU legislation "strictly prevents all UK public bodies from directly favouring UK manufacturers".