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Welsh Tory Leader accuses Drakeford of ‘playing politics’ for saying Treasury support is only there when England needs it

17 Dec 2021 4 minute read
Mark Drakeford and Andrew RT Davies.

The Leader of the Welsh Tories has accused Mark Drakeford of “playing politics” after he suggested that Treasury support is only there when England needs it.

Andrew RT Davies was responding to the First Minister after he said that Wales’ ability to tackle Omicron is “severely constrained” by the Treasury’s refusal to help out unless England is also imposing restrictions.

At a press conference in which Drakeford 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.

But in an interview with BBC Wales, RT Davies insisted that the “UK Treasury has always stepped up in this pandemic when it’s been required for Wales”.

Back in the autumn of 2020 the UK Treasury sparked outrage after it refused a request from Mark Drakeford for the furlough scheme to be extended Wales when the  country went into a firebreak lockdown.

The furlough was later extended in Wales after England went into its own lockdown.

Andrew RT Davies said: “Lets 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.”

BBC broadcaster Jenny Jones asked: “But should Wales need to go into a so called firebreak lockdown, if the case numbers here surge very quickly, would yo be calling on Rishi Sunak to guarantee a furlough for those businesses that need to close?”

Davies replied: “That’s an inevitability if we did go into lockdown or a firebreak, but none of us want to see that happening because obviously we know the devastating consequences of a firebreak or lockdown, not just on the economy  but on people’s mental health and on society as a whole.”

‘Refusal to open vital support schemes’

During the Covid press conference, Mark Drakeford said: “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.

“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.”

He said that money received from the Treasury so far were for “all the other things we need to do” – including rebuilding the NHS and helping schoolchildren catch up.

“What we’re talking about is additional money needed to face the Omicron onslaught,” he said.

“We may need to make different decisions to different timetables. We should have the same power of initiative that UK Government ministers have.”

He said that he had told Treasury ministers in meetings that he found it “disappointing” and “unfair” that they were not making funding available.

He said that if the money was available he would spend it on wage support for businesses that would have to close “if the economy has to be put on a footing where people can’t be in work while the Omicron wave comes over it”.

The First Minister said that Wales will introduce new restrictions for businesses and services from 27 December to slow the spread of the new Omicron variant.

This will include a 2-metre rule on social distancing in offices and putting extra measures in place to protect customers and staff, such as one-way systems and physical barriers. Nightclubs will also close.

The Welsh Government has announced up to £60m will be available to support businesses affected by the new restrictions.


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21 Comments
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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago

Where is Drakeford wrong in this when the Scottish and Northern Irish governments have said exactly the same thing?

Phil Nedin
Phil Nedin
11 months ago

I think RT Davies lives in a parallel universe.

A Owen
A Owen
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Nedin

He really ia a bit of a fool

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
11 months ago

Good grief RT, please be quiet. Isn’t there anyone at tory HQ to help you do your job? Drakeford is merely drawing our attention to the way the tory gov have behaved to date and we’ve seen for ourselves anyhow.

‘Playing politics’? What the heck are you doing now RT? You really do take us for fools don’t you.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago

Telling the truth is NOT playing politics. ARTD needs to review his ability to use facts.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago

“The UK Treasury has always stepped up in this pandemic when it’s been required for Wales, except when the Chancellor has been in California inspecting his trust fund investments in vaccines, testing and money laundering.”
FTFY Andrew, no charge.

Arwyn
Arwyn
11 months ago

That’s all RT-D2 does is play politics. Utter windbag.

Quornby
Quornby
11 months ago

The FM doesn’t need to “play politics”. The London system does all the “playing” necessary and the sooner we are beyond its reach as a free people the better.

Last edited 11 months ago by Quornby
Ed Jones
Ed Jones
11 months ago

ART Davies is not very bright is he? Embarrassing.

Grayham Jones
11 months ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 get out in your town’s and get the people voting for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

More antagonising bluster from hypocrite Andrew RT Davies. And Instead of being a Tory Troll should get his facts right.

He forgets, when Wales first went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic, the Welsh Government were refused Treasury assistance , and when England did similar weeks later, were given financial help.

Last edited 11 months ago by Y Cymro
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

What, Andrew RT Davies a political Rolls Royce, lol? His big end has gone and he’s failed his MOT. 🤣

Gareth
Gareth
11 months ago

RT Davies is a Rolls Canardly, rolls into the senedd , can hardly come up with anything to help Wales.

CJPh
CJPh
11 months ago

To be frank, it’s getting rather tiresome to hear nothing but criticism levelled at Westminster, discussions about Westminster, support for Westminster and pleas to Westminster from our elected officials in Bae Caerdydd. Both sides of this unionist coin are grubby and marred. Rhyddid nawr.

R W
R W
11 months ago

ARTD continues to live in Cloud Cuckoo Land!!

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
11 months ago

Drakeford simply asked for financial support during a public health emergency, and was refused. If the leader of an opposition party construes the FM’s anger at this refusal as “playing politics”, then I have to question the sincerity of said opposition leader’s loyalty to Wales. He is thinking like a Westminster spokesman, not a Welsh politician.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago

Playing politics when lives are being lost and the situation is likely to get far worse? Come on ! What does he think the Welsh government is – the Tory party??

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago

And then along comes Ben Wallace and shoots himself and Retweet in the foot. The timing is immaculate.

Popsie
11 months ago

Those criticising Westminster should ask how Wales would have fared without Treasury support. How many jobs would have been lost, how many more people would have died without the National Health Service that was invented by Aneurin Bevan and created in Westminster.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 months ago
Reply to  Popsie

It’s inevitable that a colonial economy overseen by a government that has Westminster’s restrictions imposed on it will need an infusion of financial support on a regular basis. Think how prosperous the country could have been without those restrictions.

David Owen
David Owen
11 months ago

The Welsh Tories constantly belittle Wales while praising the english government in Westminster. Wales has lost out 350 million a year from brexit directly in the leveling up fund.The promis was Wales would not lose a penny,but 350 million.

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