Boris Johnson calls emergency COBRA summit with Wales, Scotland and NI after meeting with Drakeford
Boris Johnson has called an emergency COBRA meeting for the weekend after discussions with Mark Drakeford and the leaders of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Prime Minister said that it was important that the nations and the regions of the UK were “working together” to tackle the crisis.
The leaders of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had earlier called on the UK Government to provide the funds necessary to compensate businesses if more restrictions were needed to slow the spread of the fast-moving Omicron variant.
Taking to social media Boris Johnson said: “Earlier I discussed with First Minister Mark Drakeford the continued response to Covid-19 and the importance of working together. A COBR meeting with representatives from the devolved administrations will take place over the weekend.”
The meeting followed criticism by Mark Drakeford of the UK Government’s refusal to make funds available in case Welsh ministers needed to impose harsher measures after Christmas.
“Our ability to provide and sustain longer-term economic support during this new wave of this ongoing public health emergency is severely constrained by the current position of the UK Treasury and its refusal to open vital support schemes, such as furlough,” Mar Drakeford said.
“These schemes should be available for all nations when they are needed and not just at the point when restrictions are introduced in England.”
Boris Johnson also spoke to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Paul Givan.
A spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland’s First Minister had emphasised the “extreme urgency of the crisis” for businesses in the hospitality, events, culture and related sectors.
The spokesperson added: “The First Minister also made clear that the devolved administrations require clarity that additional funding support would be available, and also on how it can be triggered by any or all of the UK administrations, in the event of further protective measures being necessary to tackle the virus in the period ahead.”
Paul Givan said he had asked the Prime Minister for more economic support in response to cases rising.
Speaking after their conversation, he said: “During the discussion, there were a number of issues that were raised about having greater co-operation and working together.
“I also pressed the need for greater support from the Treasury because it is vital that those businesses that have already been impacted by the decisions that people have taken to reduce their own social contacts are given support, and that’s an issue that we’ll continue to make representation on to the Government.”