Spring Budget 2020: Finance Ministers call for serious engagement on UK Budget management

Wednesday March 11th, 2020

Finance Ministers from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland met together for the first time with the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay in London yesterday.Government Opportunities

With the long-awaited UK Budget today ,the scale of change to devolved budgets was top of the agenda.

Rebecca Evans, Kate Forbes and Conor Murphy pressed for a commitment to a new level of serious engagement on UK spending decisions that impact upon the devolved regions, in particular assurances that additional funding will be provided to tackle the Coronavirus crisis.

Ministers also addressed the detrimental effects that the ongoing uncertainty and late adjustments has had on their budget process and their ability to plan.

Rebecca Evans said:

“If the UK Government is serious about “levelling up” then it needs to demonstrate that in tomorrow’s Budget. As things stand, our Welsh Government Budget for 2020/21 is still £300m lower than it was a decade ago.

Whilst the Chief Secretary did not share any detail as to what to expect from tomorrow’s budget, I made the case for increased infrastructure investment – particularly in rail – and greater spend on research and development to grow the Welsh economy.

Coronavirus was also discussed and I made the case for funding based on need – particularly in the context of Wales’ relatively older population and the particular impacts we are likely to see on the Welsh economy. Similarly, we discussed flooding and I pressed for additional funding from Treasury reserves to enable us to respond to the devastating impact of the recent storms in Wales.”

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