Mark Drakeford accuses UK Government of running a ‘Treasury for England’ rather than the UK as a whole
Mark Drakeford has accused the UK Government of running a “Treasury for England” rather than the UK as a whole.
Under the Barnett formula, Wales is given a population-based share of the spending decisions made in devolved areas in England, such as education and health.
Speaking in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said that they needed a Treasury which realised that Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland had different needs.
He said that Wales needs “a Treasury prepared to think of the needs of the country as a whole, not just London and the south-east of England”.
“I’m afraid I’ve long believed that the Treasury, driven by the Barnett formula, is essentially a Treasury for England, and that other parts of the United Kingdom simply get the consequences of decisions that are made in that way,” he said.
“We need a Treasury that is prepared to make the decisions that recognise the different needs of the United Kingdom and is prepared to invest in that way.
“Let’s give one example of just how differently things are thought of in London and by the Conservative party: the now-discredited package of tax cuts made by Liz Truss would have resulted in three times as much to London and the south-east than they would have provided to Wales or to northern England.
“[The Welsh Conservatives] were, of course, were very pleased to support all of that only two weeks ago, just as today, they’re no doubt pleased to turn their back on it all as though it had never happened.
“We need a Treasury prepared to think of the needs of the country as a whole, not just London and the south-east of England.”
Mark Drakeford was responding to a comment by Labour backbencher Alun Davies, who asked when Wales would get the same “priority of investment” as parts of England.
“Of course, the last time we met, First Minister, the Tories were telling us that Liz Truss was the best Prime Minister that we’ve ever had and that Conservative economic policy was unchallengeable,” the Blaenau Gwent MP said.
“We’ve seen some change in that in the last few days. But, what we haven’t seen, of course, is any change in the reality of Tory economic incompetence, which means that Wales doesn’t get the investment that should come to us.
“The people of Blaenau Gwent want to see investment in the Ebbw valley line, but they don’t get it because rail isn’t devolved and the Tories will not invest in Wales.
“First Minister, do you agree with me that what we need to see is not only a change of Government, but we need to see a change in attitude from the UK Treasury that means that countries like Wales and Scotland, and the north of England, get the same priority and investment as London and the south-east of England?”
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