THE Scottish Government today stands accused of a 'sickening' failure at a redundancy crisis Greenock company after it emerged that 65 local jobs are being axed as a direct result of TWO public contracts hammer blows.

Berry BPI — which stepped in during the Covid pandemic to provide high quality PPE gear — has been 'rewarded' for its efforts with the loss of an NHS Scotland supply contract to China.

Meanwhile, the collapse of Scotland's proposed bottle deposit return scheme means that a large contract secured by Berry BPI is now no more.

The devastating double whammy comes despite the Greenock workforce rallying during the pandemic to help dig both the Scottish and UK Governments out a PPE hole by supplying much needed equipment to protect the NHS.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan is today demanding answers from his own government's ministers regarding the failure to safeguard the future of Berry BPI.

Mr McMillan told the Telegraph: "This is a huge blow for Inverclyde and my thoughts go out to the workforce who’ll still be coming to terms with what this means for them and their families.

"The site has been long standing in Inverclyde and the workforce have continually proven their worth.

“During the pandemic, Berry BPI invested in the Greenock site to manufacture PPE items for the NHS, helping establish a Scottish supply chain for the health service at a time when countries across the globe were competing for limited PPE supplies.

“The Scottish Government worked hard to develop this supply chain so that Scotland and the NHS in England became less reliant on importing valuable equipment like PPE, in order to future-proof the health service.

“It does therefore seem extremely short-sighted that there has been a reduction in NHS contracts when Berry BPI invested to help the country."

Mr McMillan added: "It looks once again that the NHS, UK wide, will be at the mercy of manufacturers across the globe.

“I’ll be writing to the Health Secretary and the Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy to ask them to urgently take this matter up with NHS Scotland.

“Berry BPI have also suffered from the fact that they secured a large contract for the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) which has now been delayed for several years."

Mr McMillan is also writing to circular economy minister Lorna Slater, responsible for the failed bottle deposit return scheme.

The MSP says he has reached out to Berry BPI to help support the company.

Councillor Colin Jackson, who has been contacted by devastated staff who will lose their jobs, said questions now must be asked about both the UK and Scottish Governments failure to deliver a procurement model.

He said: "The government has the power to make direct awards to firms like Berry BPI, but they continue to make the political choice not to do so.

"It must be sickening for these workers, who are about to lose their jobs.

"Despite the scandal surrounding the awarding of PPE contracts, where a select few government ministers and their cronies through the 'VIP supply chain' became very rich, the Scottish and UK governments still have no centralised model for procuring PPE and continue to award these contracts overseas.

"Those ministers who are responsible for the awarding of these contracts know full well that only by using slave labour can these predominantly Chinese firms manufacture the products for our NHS and social care at such a low cost.

"As long as they continue this race to the bottom, we will see more firms like Berry BPI go under and more jobs lost."

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan also said that questions needed to be asked about any reduction or ending of contracts.

He added:"During my previous visit and discussions with Berry BPI management they highlighted to me how they pivoted during Covid to supply PPE equipment for the health service.

"Questions need to be asked about any reduction or ending of these contracts.

"I will be writing to the Scottish government to ask what can be done to help the workforce."

The Scottish Government has been approached by the Telegraph for comment.