FINANCE Ministers from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are pressing the UK Government to hold urgent talks ahead of the UK Budget on 11 March.
In a letter to the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, Scotland’s Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes and the Northern Ireland Finance Minister, Conor Murphy call for a joint meeting to discuss the impact of the UK Budget on devolved governments and clarify plans for the forthcoming UK Comprehensive Spending Review.
“An urgent meeting would provide the opportunity for the new Chief Secretary to cover the likely implications for the devolved governments from the UK Budget. This would be especially welcome given the challenges this year created by the delay in the UK Budget and the late consequential changes to our 2019-20 budgets.
“We would also value clarity in relation to plans for the forthcoming UK Comprehensive Spending Review, in particular its likely timing and engagement with the devolved governments.”
Transparency and engagement on post-EU funding was also on the list of pressing issues to discuss.
“It will be important to discuss the challenges for public spending as a result of leaving the European Union and how we work together to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to a UK funding framework which delivers for all parts of the UK 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.”