Statement following Finance Ministers’ quadrilateral
Speaking after a virtual meeting this afternoon with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and Northern Irish Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“We had a constructive conversation and the £800 million of additional new funding the UK Government announced yesterday is welcome and provides us with additional certainty.
“But if we are to meet the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19) we also require additional fiscal flexibility and it is disappointing the UK Government failed to agree to this today.
“The powers we and the other devolved governments seek are reasonable, straightforward and would not cost the UK Government a penny.
“At the moment, for example, I can’t take money from the capital budget, which we have been unable to spend because of COVID-19, and use it for revenue. Yet it is revenue that pays for our health services and schools, supports businesses and keeps our transport systems running.
“Unlike other countries across the world we cannot respond quickly to emerging needs by borrowing, leaving us overly-dependent on policy decisions made by the UK Government.
“We require these powers now to make the decisions needed to grow our economy and create jobs. Along with the Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments, we will continue making this urgent case to the Treasury.”