CHEMICAL giant GSK is being made to pay back £1.5million to the Scottish Government after announcing its plan to axe 55 jobs.

Last week we revealed the company’s Irvine plant had told workers 55 jobs will go, with 11 new positions created under the new structure - meaning 44 jobs will be lost completely.

The Times understands voluntary redundancies are not an option.

The news comes just over a year after the Beechams plant announced a £70million expansion plan which would create 55 new jobs thanks, in part, to £1.5million from the Scottish Enterprise Fund.

However 22 months on from that announcement, which saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visit the plant to make the announcement during an extravagant ceremony, it has been revealed that those 55 jobs never materialised - and now a further 55 will go.

Today the Times can reveal that GSK will have to pay back every penny of the £1.5million to Scottish Enterprise after failing to deliver on the promised jobs.

Spokespeople for both GSK and Scottish Enterprise today said both parties “had agreed” the money would be paid back in full.

A GSK spokesperson said: “GSK has made significant investments at GSK Irvine, which has an important role in supplying medicines to patients around the world.

In 2014, GSK was awarded a Scottish Enterprise Grant as part of a manufacturing capacity increase project at GSK Irvine.

A number of new jobs were created as part of this expansion and a new facility opened in 2016.

However, as a result of global market changes impacting the project, we are unable to commit to the headcount requirements, which in part, were a condition attached to the grant.

Therefore, we have agreed with Scottish Enterprise to repay the instalments of the grant that we already qualified to receive.

“In addition, we have reviewed all work across GSK Irvine and are speaking with staff and their representatives on proposed changes that potentially impact a number of employees. The consultation covers a number of different roles at the site and does not specifically focus on the roles created as part of the expansion. We continue to consult and support employees who are affected by the proposed changes.”

“GSK Irvine plays a vital role in GSK’s global medicines manufacturing network and we continue to look at opportunities that help increase the site’s capability.”