Finance ministers call for urgent UK pre-budget talks

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales want clarity ahead of the UK budget.

Finance ministers call for urgent UK pre-budget talks STV
Early meeting: Kate Forbes is among the devolved finance ministers calling for urgent talks.

Finance ministers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have called on the UK Government to hold urgent pre-budget talks.

The devolved administrations sought clarity on plans for a forthcoming comprehensive spending review.

A joint letter said: “It will be important to discuss the challenges for public spending as a result of leaving the European Union and how we can work together to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to a UK funding framework which delivers for all parts of the United Kingdom and respects devolution.

“A key test of this will be to complete our joint work to review and improve the statement of funding policy, which is integral to our ability to plan and manage budgets, and to formalise the finance ministers’ quadrilateral as a regular forum to resolve fiscal issues that impact on all parts of the UK.”

Stormont finance minister Conor Murphy, Scottish public finance minister Kate Forbes and Welsh finance minister Rebecca Evans called for the joint meeting with chief secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay.

They wrote: “An early meeting could cover likely implications for the devolved administrations of the UK Budget.

“This would be especially welcome given challenges created by the delay in the UK budget and the late consequential changes to our 2019-20 budgets at supplementary estimates.

“We would also value clarity in relation to your plans for the forthcoming UK comprehensive spending review, in particular its likely timing and engagement with the devolved governments.”