REVELATIONS that Transport for London decided to award a £1.5bn contract to a firm it knew was going to carry out work outside the UK will frustrate many who believe government bodies should do everything they can to support British jobs.

Of course, some will see the irony in TfL’s explanation that EU rules prevent them from showing favouritism to British firms, but it is easy to understand why many workers at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site will be angered at the decision not to award them the contract.

They will be even further exasperated by warnings of delays to Siemens’ Goole factory, especially as Hitachi has a plant already up and running and with a track record of delivering successful projects.

When Hitachi opened its £82m factory in 2015, The Northern Echo was publicly acknowledged as a key partner in the campaign to bring the train-builder to the region.

Three-and-a-half years later, the firm remains as important as ever to the region’s economy, and given the continued uncertainty Brexit is causing in the North-East, emphasised by more concerns at Nissan earlier this week, Hitachi needs all the help it can get.

In a visit to Darlington last month, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he would do “everything he can” to support Hitachi.

We urge Mr Grayling to be true to his word, and we hope the Government will continue to fight for British, and in particular, North-East business, at a time when it needs confidence and support more than ever.