THE UK Government has been accused of “absolutely shafting” a Scottish vaccine plant after it emerged a contract it axed cost taxpayers £358.6 million.

French firm Valneva, based in Livingston, was supposed to make more than 100 million Covid vaccines but the deal was controversially ditched in 2021.

Financial records filed by the firm show it has received hundreds of millions of pounds in non-refundable payments.

The UK Government reached a settlement with the firm and no more money is owed.

But Livingston MP Hannah Bardell said the whole episode has been a “tragedy” and insisted the company has been “absolutely shafted”.

Valneva has also revealed it is considering selling the mothballed Almeida plant in Livingston that it built to make the vaccine.

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Bardell said: "It's sadly no surprise that the Tory UK government has been shown up for absolutely shafting this iconic Vaccine plant in my Livingston constituency.

"The UK government could have saved much heartache and key jobs if it had stuck to its contract & maintained its promises and the commitment to a ‘diversity of vaccines.’ 

"Having apparently learned no lessons from the Covid enquiry the Tories have sidelined this plant, and in doing so risked a key site in the development of vaccines which could prove vital in a potential future pandemic.

"Had it not been for the swift action of the Scottish Government this plant would never have survived, and the lifesaving work of Valneva would not be able to continue.

"Companies like Valneva deserve better than the broken promises of a broken Westminster government. With the full powers of independence we will ensure we support plants like this, their workers, and bolster our resilience rather than hindering it."

Last year Scottish Enterprise awarded Valneva up to £20m in grants to support its future growth and vaccine development.

Valneva employs about 190 people in Livingston. Its existing operations in the town are not affected by the possible sale of the mothballed Almeida plant.

The company has now hired a commercial real estate firm to explore options for the 75,000 sq ft facility.

The UK government scrapped its vaccine deal with Valneva in September 2021 over allegations of a breach of the agreement - which was "strenuously denied" by the biotech firm.

A filing made to the US government agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, states that Valneva has received a total of €420.6m (£358.6m) as part of its UK government vaccine supply agreement.

This breaks down as €47.5m (£40.5m) in a "settlement agreement" after the deal was terminated; €78m (£66.5m) in capital expenditure; and the rest in non-refundable payments for manufacturing expenses.