Tens of millions of pounds in government loans to a Port Glasgow shipyard may not be retrieved after its nationalisation.

An investigation by a national newspaper claims that as much as £45million given by the Scottish Government to bosses at Ferguson Marine may not be recovered by ministers.

After being bought out in 2014 to avoid its closure, the government handed out sums of £30m in September 2017 and £15m in June 2018.

However, after the site was taken under effective-government control last week to save the 300 existing jobs, figures at Holyrood have said they are unsure how this money will now be recouped.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, a government spokesman suggested any cash that could be found would be used to fund a bid to buy the business out of administration, and to pay any contractors who had been left in the lurch, with two ferry contracts outstanding.

The spokesman added: “Fully analysing the financial position of the business, including all commitments with creditors and suppliers, will be one of the main tasks of the shipyard’s new board.

“We will use part of our outstanding loans to FMEL to fund a credit bid for the yard.

“We will also commit to meeting all valid debt claims to suppliers.”