Welsh Government Takes Risk With New Restrictions As Treasury Money May Be ‘Fictitious’, Says Mark Drakeford

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Prime Minister Mark Drakeford on Pawb ai’i Farn. Rishi Sunak in Westminster. Photo by the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The Welsh government is taking a risk by spending money on the Covid restrictions, as the new support from the Treasury may be ‘fictitious’, the Prime Minister has said.

The UK Treasury said on Sunday it would give the Welsh government an additional £ 270million to tackle the new Omicron variant of the virus.

But it was revealed on Monday that the Welsh government may have to repay the money if the UK government does not decide to spend similar amounts on restrictions in England.

Mark Drakeford said that although they had the money for the restrictions announced today, they did not have the “financial firepower” to go further and help anyone who might be out of work due to the restrictions.

“The UK government says it gave us an additional £ 270million. I want to make it clear that it is not that simple, ”he said.

“This money depends on how much is spent on similar services in England. We can get more and we can get less.

“We are moving at risk here. Our assessment is that we should step in, use the money, take the risk that the money announced by the UK government is real rather than fictitious to give businesses the confidence they need. “

He added that he had joined “colleagues from Scotland and Northern Ireland” in asking the Treasury to put in “protections” for areas that would be affected by Covid restrictions after Christmas.

“Double”

The UK Treasury said on Monday the Welsh government would receive an additional £ 270million, but if the amount given was more than the share of the money Wales would have received anyway, it would pay it back.

“If the amount of funding provided to each decentralized administration is greater than the Barnett consequences confirmed in the Supplementary Estimates, the difference will be reimbursed in 2022-2023, or during the expenditure review period if necessary,” said declared the Treasury.

“If the consequences of Barnett are greater than the amount provided in advance, the decentralized administrations will keep the additional funding.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, however, said the money gave decentralized governments “the certainty that they were asking to spend extra money now rather than waiting for extra budget for the new year.”

“Following discussions with the devolved administrations, we are now doubling the additional funding available,” he said.

“We will continue to listen and work with devolved administrations in the face of this serious health crisis to ensure that we get the recall for people all over the UK and that people in Scotland, Wales and Ireland from North are supported. ”


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