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Welsh Government may have to pay back new money to fight Omicron says Treasury

20 Dec 2021 3 minute read
Rishi Sunak picture by No 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The Welsh Government may have to repay the additional money it has received by the Treasury to fight Omicron if the UK Government decides it wasn’t needed.

The Treasury announced yesterday it would give the Welsh Government an additional £270 million to fight the new variant of the virus 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 £270 million, UK officials said. But they said that if the amount given end up higher than the share of the money Wales would have received anyway, they will have it pay it back.

“If the amount of funding provided up front to each Devolved Administration is more than the Barnett consequentials confirmed at Supplementary Estimates then the difference will be repaid in 2022-23, or over the Spending Review period if necessary,” the Treasury said.

“If the Barnett consequentials are higher than the amount provided up front, the Devolved Administrations will keep the extra funding.”

The Scottish Government criticised the announcement of “new” funding yesterday, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying that she had suspicions that it was an “advance” on what they would have received anyway.

She said that “to the extent it is new/additional, the Scottish Government will make sure it goes in full to helping business and the overall Covid effort”.

‘Vital’

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak however said that the money gave the devolved governments “the certainty they requested to spend additional funding now rather than waiting for Supplementary Estimates in the new year”.

“Following discussions with the Devolved Administrations, we are now doubling the additional funding available,” he said.

“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.”

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies welcomed the announcement.

“As I said on BBC Wales on Friday, the Conservatives have consistently stepped up to the plate throughout the pandemic to help Welsh families, workers and businesses – and we’ve done so again,” he said.

“Throughout this crisis, the Chancellor and Prime Minister have ensured the United Kingdom has stood together as one family with over £9 billion of COVID-19 support for Wales, and will continue to deliver through financial measures, vaccines, and boots on the ground thanks to our heroic Armed Forces.

“It’s now vital Labour ministers use this money quickly to ramp up the vaccine rollout, strengthen the public health response, and help Welsh workers and businesses who are already experiencing difficulties in the wake of Omicron and need support this Christmas.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago

How dare they! That’s our money, or does all my tax just disappear out of existence?

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
11 months ago

That is the “insurance policy” being part of the ‘union’ gives us according to Drakeford earlier on this year, ho ho ho

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
11 months ago

If that happens, there should be a Welsh taxpayers’ strike.

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones
11 months ago

Why not just allow the WG to borrow money from international markets? It would make things easier for both governments but I guess it would make Wales too ‘independent’ for the Tories to ever allow it.

j humphrys
j humphrys
11 months ago
Reply to  Rhys Jones

Another idea from NC readers. Hope WG listens………………..

Quornby
Quornby
11 months ago

So London is lending us our own money!?

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
11 months ago

Remember John Redwood that muppet mouthing the Welsh national Anthem is claim to fame he sent 100.000.000 of Welsh money back to the Treasury he said that Wales didn’t need it and don’t forget they then cut that for every year after that

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
11 months ago

Thanks for your taxes, anything we use you taxes for in Wales, you will also be paying for that. Can’t make it up, get us out

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago

Jolly kind of them – it’s to be expected though. Westminster has hardly been supportive has it, it’s why we are so poor. Stuff um !

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