Finance ministers from the UK’s devolved administrations have been snubbed by the chancellor of the exchequer, following calls for more fiscal powers from the Treasury.
The Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments have co-authored a statement to the chancellor, requesting what they referred to as “relatively limited powers” in order to aid the post-covid financial growth of each country. Rishi Sunak did not consent to this application.
The policies announced by Sunak have a direct effect on Scottish finances due to the Barnett formula, which will provide the country with further funding. Spending north of the border will be clarified by the Treasury by the end of the month.
Andrew Wilson, who was responsible for the SNP’s latest economic outline for independence, has asked that Scottish ministers be given the power to allocate bonds to aid the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court, the former permanent secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and George Osborne has supported the plan. It has also received the backing of Lord Darling of Roulanish, who led the Better Together campaign in 2014.
Scottish finance secretary, Kate Forbes, said that funding to ensure the future of the public services must come from elsewhere in the country’s budget. She said: “That creates risks for our essential public services, jobs and businesses.”
Forbes concluded that she would like to see “greater ambition in the level of investment in our economy”.
The Northern Ireland finance minister, Conor Murphy, has called for the government to respond “swiftly and effectively” to the financial challenges posed by Covid-19.