Finance ministers call for ‘urgent meeting’ with Sunak

Kate Forbes has said Rishi Sunak must meet with ministers from the devolved nations urgently.

Finance ministers call for ‘urgent meeting’ with Sunak STV News
A joint-letter has been sent to Sunak.

Finance ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have called for an urgent meeting with UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

A joint-letter has been sent to Sunak by Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes, Welsh finance minister Rebecca Evans, and Northern Ireland’s finance minister Conor Murphy.

They have urged the Chancellor to have “meaningful discussions” around a range of issues including the Coronavirus Job Retention Review, the UK Spending Review and the Barnett guarantee.

Forbes said that Sunak must meet with ministers from the devolved nations urgently as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

She 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 build a sustainable economy as we recover 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.”

Wales’ Rebecca Evans outlined the importance of information being shared between the four nations, with meetings on a regular basis.

“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,” said Evans.

“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.”

Conor Murphy highlighted the need to rebuild public services and the economy after the damage of the pandemic.

He 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.”