Wales, Scotland and NI join in ‘unprecedented’ call to UK Government for financial flexibility to tackle Covid-19

Finance Ministers Kate Forbes, Conor Murphy and Rebecca Evans. Photo by Welsh Government.

The governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have joined forces today to say that UK Government’s financial inflexibility is making the job of tackling Covid-19 harder.

All three Finance Ministers – Rebecca Evans, Conor Murphy and Kate Forbes have simultaneously made oral statements in their respective legislatures today.

This is the first time they have done so, demonstrating the “scale of their concern,” they said.

“I am focused on protecting the people of Wales from the worst impacts of the pandemic, while laying the foundations for recovery based on jobs, our young people and the environment,” Wales’ Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, said.

“However, the Chancellor’s decision to cancel the UK autumn Budget, alongside the uncertainty of the Spending Review and the complete lack of information on replacement EU funding, all contribute to making our task harder still.

“Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are today calling on the UK Government to provide the fairness, flexibility and clarity we need to support and protect our communities and businesses.”

The Ministers are calling on the UK Government for:

  • Greater fiscal flexibility to manage the implications of COVID-19,
  • Meaningful involvement in the Spending Review to enable planning of Budgets
  • For an assurance that lost EU funding will be replaced in full and brought under the control of Devolved Administrations.

 

‘Unprecedented’

Finance Minister for Northern Ireland, Conor Murphy said they as finance ministers for over 10 million people were “speaking with one voice”.

“We are calling for more fiscal flexibility to manage the implications of COVID-19,” he said.

“We are calling for proper involvement in the Spending Review so we can plan our Budgets. We are also calling for lost EU funding to be replaced in full, and brought under local control.”

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said that their cals should not go “unanswered”.

“Today the finance ministers of the devolved administrations are taking this unprecedented step to demonstrate the level of concern we share across the different nations of the UK, across different parties and across different legislatures.

“The importance of these issues cannot be overstated. They directly impact our ability to respond to COVID-19, to manage our nations’ finances and to support our communities and businesses during the pandemic.

“As representatives of our three nations, we are calling for the UK Government to provide the clarity, certainty and flexibility we require.”

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