Finance Minister calls on UK Government to lift cloud of financial uncertainty
The Welsh Government is urging the UK Government to take action to end austerity and stop the reckless game-playing with public services, and provide much needed stability and certainty.
In a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd Rebecca Evans expressed her disappointment at the UK Government’s failure to deliver on its previous commitment of a three year Comprehensive Spending Review, instead announcing a one year revenue budget for 2020-21.
The Finance Minister said:
Despite the challenging backdrop, we have been planning on the basis of previous UK Government commitments. Before the summer recess I put in place arrangements with the Assembly to facilitate publication of our Budget later than we normally would, in an effort to provide longer-term financial certainty for our partners and stakeholders.
Our public services are managing incredibly difficult budgets, and I had hoped to be in a position to plan over a three-year horizon. Instead, we are now faced with unplanned, ad-hoc UK Government fiscal events which elevate the level of uncertainty and fail to provide a stable foundation on which we can set our spending plans.
The Minister went on to voice her growing concerns about the UK Government’s chaotic and unpredictable management of the UK’s exit from the EU and called on the Chief Secretary to provide immediate support for a no deal Brexit.
Rebecca Evans said:
A no deal Brexit would have a catastrophic impact on Wales and I have been clear that the additional funding announced by the UK Government recently to prepare for a no deal Brexit will not come anywhere near to compensating for the devastation it will cause to our economy, businesses and communities across Wales.
The support that will be required to address even a proportion of the impact of leaving without a deal cannot be delivered within existing budgets. There will be the need for immediate financial support and we would expect to be fully funded for the operational costs incurred in Wales.
The Minister also reinforced the need for an urgent meeting of the Finance Ministers’ Quadrilateral to discuss arrangements which will reflect the different relationships required post-Brexit.
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