Monday, May 10, 2021
HomeLive StreamGovernments demand talks with Treasury over spending in devolved nations

Governments demand talks with Treasury over spending in devolved nations

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The call came after talks between Scottish public finance minister Ivan McKee, and the finance ministers in Northern Ireland and Wales, Conor Murphy and Rebecca Evans.

In a joint statement, the trio sought to highlight their “shared concerns about the UK Government’s decision to bypass democratically agreed devolution arrangements” by funding projects in their nations under the Levelling Up scheme and Community Renewal Funds.

Mr McKee, Mr Murphy and Ms Evans insisted that money to replace cash from European Union (EU) funds should be “allocated in full” by their devolved Governments.

It is ignoring our respective devolution arrangements, delivering funding to meet Whitehall’s priorities rather than those of the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

This, they insisted, was the best way to “address the needs and opportunities of the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, rather than through a new, separate layer of bureaucracy”.

The three ministers hit out and said: “The UK Government ignored the devolved Governments’ efforts and requests to  input to the development process for these funds for almost three years and is now using powers under the UK Internal Market Act to bypass us completely.

“It is ignoring our respective devolution arrangements, delivering funding to meet Whitehall’s priorities rather than those of the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

They called for talks to take place before the UK Government further develops its Shared Prosperity Fund, with the devolved Governments saying that denying them “any meaningful input” to this “harms the effectiveness of these funds, will duplicate resources and risks value for money and the achievement of better, fairer outcomes which our communities and people deserve”.

The ministers said: “The support announced through these funds is not new money. This funding has sat with our respective Governments since powers in this area were devolved.

“Now, bidding for an unidentified share of a UK pot through a competitive process provides no guarantee of success.

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