THE FINANCE MINISTERS of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for an urgent meeting with him to discuss a range of issues, including financial recovery from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Following discussions at the Covid Recovery Summit, Ministers are urging the Chancellor to have meaningful discussions around managing volatility around in-year budgets, the Barnett guarantee, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the UK Spending Review and Levelling Up of the economy.
Minister for Finance and Local Government Rebecca Evans said:
“We are calling for an urgent meeting with the Chancellor to build on the commitments made at the Covid Recovery Summit that the four nations will work together to support economic recovery.
“It is vital that the four nations share information and meet on a regular basis to ensure that Wales and the rest of the UK recovers from what has been an incredibly challenging year.”
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“Alongside the finance ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland, I have written to the Chancellor setting out the Scottish Government’s commitment to build on constructive discussions at the Covid Recovery Summit and ensure we are working together to ensure we build a suitable recovery from the pandemic.
“To achieve this, we urgently need to meet with the Chancellor to discuss vitally important matters including clarity around the Job Retention Scheme and the forthcoming UK spending review.
“To ensure Scotland and the whole of the UK recovers from the pandemic and builds a sustainable economy, we urgently need the Chancellor to meet with us to discuss these matters.”
Minister Murphy said:
“The British Government’s Spending Review is of crucial importance to the Executive. It is essential that the British Government delivers a multi-year budget as this will enable the Executive to strategically plan the delivery of public services.
“It is also important that the Spending Review delivers a good budget outcome. We need to rebuild public services and the economy after the damage caused by COVID-19. This can only be done through an investment led approach to recovery.
“I look forward to a constructive engagement with the Chancellor and my counterparts in Scotland and Wales on these issues.”
A copy of the letter to the Chancellor is below.
Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Following recent elections in Wales and Scotland and the constructive discussions at the Covid Recovery Summit, we are sure that you will agree that now is the time to look strategically at inter-governmental relations in the short and medium term. Our priority is to ensure there is meaningful engagement and co-operation between our administrations on cross-UK funding matters.
While there may be some challenges ahead that will test our relationships and ways of working, there are also opportunities to maximise the impact of our policies and programmes on the economy and public services to demonstrate to our citizens the value of collaboration between governments, based on partnership and respect.
With this in mind, we are asking that an urgent Quadrilateral meeting is arranged to discuss matters including Covid recovery; the management of volatility around in-year budget management and the “Barnett guarantee”; the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for the economy more generally; and the UK Spending Review and Levelling Up.
We would be grateful if you can confirm when this meeting can take place. Our respective Private Offices will be able to assist in finding a suitable date and time.
We are copying this letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.