Andrew RT Davies ‘very pleased’ UK Treasury ‘refused’ Welsh Gov request for Covid cash
Andrew RT Davies has said he is “very pleased” that the UK Treasury “refused” a request from the Welsh Government for money to tackle the pandemic.
The Leader of the Tories in the Senedd claimed that the refusal from Boris Johnson’s Conservative government in Westminster prevented Mark Drakeford from implementing an “anti-science socialist agenda”.
In an article for ConservativeHome, the Conservative politician suggested that people read an article by England’s Health Secretary, Sajid Javid in the Daily Mail, on how to deal with the pandemic.
He took aim at the Welsh First Minister, who has said that Wales’ ability to tackle Omicron is “severely constrained” by the UK Treasury’s refusal to help out unless England is also imposing restrictions.
Drakeford added that it was “not fair” that ministers making decisions for England knew money would be available while the same thing wasn’t true in Wales.
In response to the restrictions put in place in Wales last month, scientists from the Technical Advisory Group published modelling which suggested that anything short of a four-weeks of restrictions might have a “negligible benefit”. However, four weeks at Alert Level 4 “could have a significant impact”
The Welsh Government eventually decided on much less stringent Alert Level 2 measures before Christmas, including closing nightclubs, a rule of six and table service at hospitality venues.
The First Minister said that they would need more support from the UK Treasury if they were to introduce a stricter lockdown, as they would need to compensate businesses that would close.
‘We cannot continue’
In an article on ConservativeHome, Andrew RT Davies said: “We cannot continue with spiralling waiting lists and missed cancer diagnoses. We cannot continue with closed businesses forcing people to turn to the state for support, because we know how much socialists love to have people in the hands of the state. I am very pleased that the Treasury has refused to agree to Drakeford’s request that they finance his anti-science socialist agenda.
“Indeed, so strong is the Welsh Labour aversion to private business that his administration have in place a rule under which you can be fined for going into work but can sit in the pub all day and watch television.”
He also said: “For those who haven’t yet done so, I would strongly recommend that readers take a look at Sajid Javid’s article in the Daily Mail from December.
“The Health Secretary said, rightly, that curbs on our freedom must be a last resort, and added that the British people expect politicians to do everything they can do avoid them.”
Back in the autumn of 2020 the UK Treasury sparked outrage after it refused a request from Mark Drakeford for the furlough scheme to be extended Wales when the country went into a firebreak lockdown.
The furlough was later extended in Wales after England went into its own lockdown.