St Albans MP Anne Main has revealed that the Government’s plans to build new rail links are not guaranteed to translate into lots of jobs for British workers. Indeed Transport Minister Paul Clark has stopped short of saying that UK companies will enjoy any sort of advantage when bidding for contracts:
"To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to increase capital expenditure on rail links as part of the Government’s plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created by increased funding for new rail links in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011 under the Government’s plans to create up to 100,000 new jobs through public works; and what proportion of those jobs he estimates will go to British workers. 
Paul Clark: The July 2007 Rail White Paper set out the Government’s commitment of £10 billion towards increasing capacity on the rail network over the next five years, including improvements to the infrastructure.
In the pre-Budget report in November, the Government announced that they are bringing forward £3 billion of capital spending from 2010-11 to 2008-09 and 2009-10. The package included £300 million to accelerate the delivery of up to 200 new carriages to expand capacity on the rail network and an extra £54 million to help enhance the North London rail line to increase the long-term freight capacity of this vital cross-London rail route.
There may be other good reasons for expediting capital expenditure, but people will find it remarkable that a Labour Government is so unwilling to offer a firm assurance that British workers will benefit.