Valneva contract

Ministers ‘wasted’ £200m on cancelled vaccine deal

Valneva Covid vaccine
Valneva denied it breached the contract

UK government ministers have been accused of “wasting” more than £200 million of taxpayers’ money after cancelling a contract with French company Valneva to supply 100 million doses of a Covid vaccine from its Scottish plant.

The Department for Health and Social claimed there had been a breach of contract when it pulled out of the €1.4 billion deal last September.

Shares in the company, which denied the government’s claims, fell by more than 45%.

Year end figures just published by Valneva reveal that the government had already made €253.3 million (£214 million) in non-refundable payments to the company.

Soon after the contraft was cancelled Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said in the House of Commons that the jab would not win approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Valneva is now confident of receiving MHRA approval and since the cancelled DHSS contract has won orders from the European Commission

The company has been in talks with Scottish Enterprise to fund completion of its manufacturing site in Livingston and there were talks behind the scenes to reinstate the order.

The revelations about lost taxpayers’ money follows hundreds of millions being wasted on unusable equipment that had passed its expiry date and failure by the Treasury to stop and recover fraudulently claimed Covid loans.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said the Valneva expense was “yet another example of wasteful and careless spending” by the government.

“The Tories have already lost billions of taxpayers’ money to fraud and waste during the pandemic,” he said. “The British public are paying the price… in higher taxes.”

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