‘No new money’ say Wales and Scotland despite Chancellor promising ‘additional’ lockdown help
The Governments of Wales and Scotland say they are getting no new money from the UK Government despite the Chancellor of the Exchequer promising £4.6bn of additional help to tackle Covid.
Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure would receive new grants to help them keep afloat until spring, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.
The Welsh Conservatives had said that this amounted an additional £227m for Wales from the Treasury.
But the Welsh Government denied this, with Minister for Finance Rebecca Evans saying it was part of existing funding.
“This funding is part of our existing Covid funding guarantee and is not new money,” she said.
“The Welsh Government is already providing the most generous support package anywhere in the UK and will continue to support Welsh businesses through these difficult times.”
It had also been claimed that the Scottish Government would receive £375m, and the Northern Ireland Executive £127m.
Having earlier said that she welcomed “additional support” Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes said that it had since turned out that it wasn’t the case.
“It has since transpired that this isn’t actually ‘additional support’ because it isn’t additional to previously allocated funding for the Scottish Government from the UK Government,” she said.
“The Welsh Government also pointing out that this isn’t new or additional money.”
The Wesh Conservative had earlier said that the £227m was part of £5.427 billion given to Wales to fight Covid 19.
Russell George MS, the Shadow Minister for Economy, Business and Infrastructure, said it is vital that the money is allocated quickly and where needed, adding:
“Further lockdowns are of course not the new year anyone wanted, but it’s imperative that all measures are taken to prevent the spread of the virus – especially this new variant – but the devastating effect of these lockdowns on our economies must be softened by measures like the ones Rishi Sunak has introduced over nearly 10 months.
“That’s why we welcome this additional £227m, but we also make very clear that it’s up to the Welsh Labour-led Government to make sure this money from HM Treasury is made available and accessible to businesses with immediate effect.
“Many businesses are now on their knees, and the usual delays by the Labour government, as we saw before Christmas, in making funds available will just drive businesses and businesspeople further into the ground.”