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Treasury gives Welsh Government additional £270 million to fight Omicron after Drakeford criticism

19 Dec 2021 3 minutes Read
Rishi Sunak at Westminster. Picture by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (CC BY-ND 2.0). Mark Drakeford (right) Picture by Doubledoppler (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Treasury will give the Welsh Government an additional £270 million to fight the Omicron after criticism by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The First Minister had said on Friday that Wales’ ability to tackle Omicron was “severely constrained” by the Treasury’s refusal to help out the semi-autonomous nations unless England also imposed restrictions.

They will now receive an additional £860 million, increased from an initial £430 million announced last this week, UK officials said.

The news confirmed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak came as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland met for a Cobra meeting with the Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay.

The Scottish Government will get an additional £440 million and Northern Ireland £150 million.

Rishi Sunak said: “Following discussions with the Devolved Administrations, we are now doubling the additional funding available.

“We will continue to listen to and work with the Devolved Administrations in the face of this serious health crisis to ensure we’re getting the booster to people all over the UK and that people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are supported.”

The extra support comes after Mark Drakeford had on Friday outlined restrictions that the Welsh Government was planning to introduce after Christmas, on 27 December, he said 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.

“Our ability to provide and sustain longer-term economic support during this new wave of what is an 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,” he said.

“These schemes should be available for all nations when they are needed and not just at the point at when restrictions are introduced in England.”

He added: “At the moment the system is not fair to us in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

“If ministers at the UK Government want to do something the Treasury will back it. If we want to make the same decisions here the money isn’t available.”

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, later accused Mark Drakeford of “playing politics” over the comments.

Andrew RT Davies said: “Let’s get real here. The UK Treasury has funded many measures right the way through this pandemic in excess of £8bn that’s come into Wales. I’m sure the UK Treasury will step up to the plate again.

“But let’s not forget that the Welsh Government has £650m of their own money available to put into to support businesses in Wales and ultimately when they did bring schemes forward such as the economic resilience fund, it collapsed in 24 hours, so I regret that the First Minister is trying to play politics with this.

“The UK Treasury has always stepped up in this pandemic when it’s been required for Wales.”


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Geraint
Geraint
6 months ago

‘Gave us £270m to fight Omicron’. Sounds like it is their money. Last time I looked it came from our taxes, plenty of which is paid in Wales.

Cardi
Cardi
6 months ago
Reply to  Geraint

Absolutely right. The sooner that Welsh people see that they are being lied to about where the money comes from the sooner we shake off the shackles of English imperialism

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Geraint

The line on page 6 of the above is interesting ” no official data exists, our rough estimate”. So its guess work then.

Une Eoniiste
Une Eoniiste
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

It is unlikely that they are completely wrong and that Wales makes more of a profit than the South East, is it?

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Une Eoniiste

Depends on how good they are at guessing

Bennie Bin Iaith
Bennie Bin Iaith
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Ah right. The very existence of Barnett formula is just to keep you all down.

You’re right. Wales’ tax base pays for the entire UK.

We all parasite off the tax revene from all the public sector workers and Admiral clerical staff.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

Regarding the unfair Barnett formula, Lord Barnett himself, in the article below, agreed in the house of lords that the current system should change and be a needs based system, rather than continue as it is, which should have been a temporary measure in 1976.https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldselect/ldbarnett/139/13911.htm

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

The Barnett formula is not fit for purpose, and does not serve the needs of Wales. Lord Barnett has said it should change to a needs based system, and was only designed as a temporary measure in 1976.
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldselect/ldbarnett/139/13911.htm

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  Une Eoniiste

Income tax is not the only tax we pay in Wales but because it’s stuff like VAT paid by UK wide companies-Tesco’s, BP, and so on, the VAT is paid at HQ it’s seen as being paid there not in Wales. Other businesses that pay corporation tax but are England based like Severn Trent yet earn their profits in Wales also don’t get seen in the Welsh tax sum. Then there’s fuel duty, car tax and so on. Such a pity we have to rely on a government that does not represent Welsh aspirations to give us some of our… Read more »

Richard
Richard
6 months ago

Lets welcome this and thank
Mark D .. but where was ( our )
Welsh Sec in this ?

A deafening
silence or part of a set drama
Psyback for not pushing a Wales
Covid 🦠Commision ?

Only history
or a leak will tell 🤔

David
David
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard

or a dying confession.

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  David

Spot on
😱

Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago

I note that when the odious Andrew R.T. Davis doesn’t like politicians doing politics he describes it as playing. When all he seems able to do is throw cheap shots from the sidelines in a by now charateristic sneering impotent sulk.
I don’t expect better.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

His major problem is that he defends Westminster Tories who then agree with Drakeford, provide the extra funding RT has said isn’t needed and he ends up looking foolish.

Doctor Trousers
6 months ago

When covid apparently leaves us with two stark options, to either gamble with livelihoods or gamble with lives, remember this:
We always had the other option, which was to tax some bloody billionaires for once, so the rest of us can all get through this pandemic safely with our livelihoods in tact.
It’s the Tories who have kept that option off the table.

Steve P
Steve P
6 months ago

Absolutely spot on. This is the elephant in the room: there has never been so much money owned by so few yet in the modern equivalent of hiding it under a mattress so much of it is stashed away in tax havens doing nothing while populations suffer. And to add insult to injury billionaires continue to add even more to their eye watering wealth during the pandemic.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

It would now seem we are only getting a loan, and may have to pay back this money. How fortunate we are to have such a caring regime in Westminster.

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