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Watch: Mark Drakeford accuses Truss government of having ‘turned its back on the future of the UK’

11 Oct 2022 5 minute read
Mark Drakeford picture by Ben Birchall / PA Wire. Prime Minister Liz Truss. Photo Toby Melville PA Images.

The First Minister has accused Liz Truss’ government of having “turned its back” on “the future of the United Kingdom”.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said that there had been a “collapse” in the inter-governmental arrangements agreed under the previous Boris Johnson-led UK Government.

He added that he had still not had the opportunity to discuss the cost of living crisis “or any other matter” with Liz Truss.

“Not only has there been no invitation to meet the Prime Minister, but all those carefully agreed components of the inter-governmental review concluded by the last UK Government, agreed by the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, none of that is operating either,” he said.

“There was to have been a meeting of what’s called FISC, the finance inter-ministerial committee. It was meant to happen in September; it was postponed by the UK Government.

“It was rescheduled for 5 October; it’s been postponed again by the UK Government. Neither of those two committees—the ministerial committee and the finance committee—have met since the new Prime Minister took office.

“There were 11 groups set up at a ministerial level under the review of inter-governmental relations. There have been 20 meetings of those groups between March and the start of September. Not a single one of them has met since the new Prime Minister took office.

“It is a collapse—it’s a collapse—of a set of arrangements that the last Conservative Government agreed, led and, to an extent, was making happen in the six months between March and September.

“We’ll take whatever opportunities come our way, but the truth of the matter is that the current UK Government has turned its back not just on our economic futures, but the future of the United Kingdom as well.”

He was responding to a question by Labour backbencher Joyce Watson MS who asked “What discussions has the First Minister had with the UK Prime Minister regarding the cost-of-living crisis facing residents in mid and west Wales?”

Mark Drakeford answered: “Llywydd, no opportunity for discussion on this or any other matter has been forthcoming from the latest UK Prime Minister.”

‘No response’

Mark Drakeford’s criticism comes after the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland finance ministers have received “no response” from the Chancellor to a letter asking to meet to discuss the mini-budget which put financial markets in a tailspin.

The devolved governments had said last week that they were seeking an “urgent meeting” with Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to discuss “immediate action to reverse the damaging effects of the mini-budget”.

Wales’ Finance Minister Rebecca Evans was joined by Finance Ministers from Scotland and Northern Ireland in highlighting the profound impact of “the largest set of unfunded tax cuts for the rich in over 50 years” stating it is “a huge gamble on public finances and the health of our economy”.

But today Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney said that they had not yet received any reply to that letter, or a previous letter they had sent.

“It’s not just the letter of October 1,” he said.

“Over the summer, the finance ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also wrote to the then Chancellor, setting the need for urgent action over the summer to tackle the cost-of-living crisis,” he told the BBC’s Breakfast programme.

“And there hasn’t been a response to that letter either.”

He added the UK Government was not taking its engagement with devolved administrations seriously.

The joint letter had warned against being condemned to another decade of austerity and expressed deep concern over reports that UK Government departments will be asked to make spending cuts to balance the budget, which may have profound consequences for devolved budget settlements already eroded by inflation.

The Ministers also renewed calls for the UK Government to provide targeted support for households and businesses, funded through a windfall tax on the energy sector.

They also call for additional funding to increase Social Security benefits to support low income households with the higher costs they will face through winter, including a £25 per week uplift for Universal Credit and legacy benefits.

“By abolishing the 45p additional rate of income tax the UK Government has shown its true colours,” they said. “This will make the rich richer and further embed inequality in our communities.”

The UK Government subsequently u-turned on the planned abolition of the 45p rate.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

It is obvious to me what should be done: It is time for the devolved governments and Ireland to start holding meetings among ourselves, our ministers need to discuss our response to the The Westminster junta and its behaviour…

… The one thing Liz Truss hasn’t u-turned on has been her promise to ignore the devolved parliaments.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Yes indeed. We also need to make donations to the Greens, Lib dems, Plaid and even Welsh Labour to enure that the non Tory parties have the funds to fight an early election which is quite possible. I would also add Compass onto that list as they are doing sterling work on bringing together the non-Tory opposition to ensure that those of us who vote non-Tory don’t end up with a Tory because the opposition is split.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago

Westminster couldn’t care less what Mr D thinks. What’s a Taff empty suit going to do about it?

Last edited 1 month ago by I.Humphrys
Frank
Frank
1 month ago

This woman has a hidden agenda and that is to break up the union and make it look as if someone else is responsible. Watch her pull the plug on Wales and Scotland soon and blame it on the call for independence and not of her own doing. However, the sooner we grab our share from the treasury and UK assets and go our own way the better.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

I only wish that were true. Their agenda is to demolish devolution once and for all.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Fat Shanks’ depraved genii is busy flying on a tax-payer funded champagne magic carpet ride fulfilling the wishes of all her backers before someone puts her back in her bottle…bold as brass…no intention of helping just helping the gang…The government has been outsourced and is now ‘A Tufton St Production’ …

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

As if they cared in the past. If they did, we would not be one of the poorest country’s in Europe, with horrific child poverty and poor health figures. A strongly worded letter will not change anything, no matter how many devolved gov ministers sign it. Independence is the only answer, when will our first minister admit it.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

It’s obvious the Tories now don’t even recognise the existence of the other nations of the UK anymore. These nations now need to work together in preparation for independence or reunification.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
1 month ago

I am sick of hearing about him complaining about being ignored by yet another Tory Prime Minister.

Surely, he knows by now that things are not going to change. The Westminster “elite” have made it clear, year in year out, that Wales is not important beyond gifting a few seats and being a playground and nuclear waste dumping ground.

Research also shows that Wales will be among the “regions” most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and skyrocketing energy bills, yet he still supports this union and by extension, the Westminster cabal.

Last edited 1 month ago by SundanceKid
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Mark Drakeford is right to comment on the bloody minded ignorance of Liz Truss but perhaps meeting her is best avoided as she may be gone in a few weeks. If I was him I would be tempted to say this. Oi madam! Who do you, an illegitimate Prime Minister who has dumped her party’s’ manifesto, think YOU are ignoring me and Nicola Sturgeon, two properly and democratically elected leaders in our respective nations Parliaments? Learn some respect or GET OUT!

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