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Don't sell vital vaccine manufacturing centre demand Liberal Democrats - it's short-sighted penny pinching just as latest virus variant shows its strategic importance

November 29, 2021 4:01 PM

The Liberal Democrats have demanded that Boris Johnson immediately steps in to halt the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Harwell near Oxford, describing the move as "short-sighted penny pinching."

Cllr Robin AshbyIt was reported in the Financial Times this morning that the centre is being sold off to recoup some of the money spent by the Government during the Covid crisis.

On a visit to the centre last year, the Prime Minister claimed that the new vaccine centre "will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population... which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future pandemics."

"Mr Johnson must immediately step in and stop the sale of the Vaccine Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and reassure the public that the Government isn't cutting back on our ability to manufacture the vaccines we need, " said Cllr Robin AShby, who speaks for Newcastle LIberal Democrats on business matters.

"The Prime Minister himself underlined how important this centre will be to protect against Covid and future pandemics.

"It is astonishing that the Government is even contemplating selling off this vital national asset, when the Omicron variant means we may soon need to manufacture new vaccines.

"This looks like short-sighted penny pinching, at a time when ministers should be doing everything they can to keep the country safe from this and future Covid variants.

"Given the Prime Minister's past praise for the faciity, we are also entitled to ask if this is a stealth sell-off by his Chancellor that he didn't even know about."