Watch: Boris Johnson refuses to give Wales power over Covid cash
Boris Johnson has refused to give Wales power over Covid cash, saying that Westminster would “continue” to keep control of it.
The UK Prime Minister was responding to by Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake in the House of Commons when he suggested that power over the furlough scheme would not be transferred to Wales.
The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has recently suggested that Wales’s ability to to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is “severely constrained” by the Treasury’s refusal to help out unless England is also imposing restrictions.
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.
The UK Treasury has previously refused a request from Drakeford to extend the furlough scheme in Wales when he called a lockdown, only to do so latter when England went into its own lockdown.
But Boris Johnson has insisted that the UK Government has “supported Wales” during the pandemic.
Wales has chosen a different approach in responding to Omicron
But once again Westminster is refusing to give Wales the fiscal powers to support businesses properly
New year, same Westminster
— Plaid Cymru 🏴 (@Plaid_Cymru) January 5, 2022
Ben Lake said: “The Prime Minister has made his position clear in saying that the Government will see out the current wave with no further restrictions or new support for businesses, but, as he will know, the Government in Wales have implemented new measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“Does he not agree that it would be better for Wales to be afforded the fiscal powers required to support those public health measures, so that the Welsh Government’s response can be as flexible and effective as possible?”
Boris Johnson replied: “The UK Government have supported Wales, and the UK as a whole, throughout the pandemic to the tune of billions and billions of pounds. We supply the vaccines, we supply the testing kits, and furlough will continue to do everything to support the whole of the UK.”