Finance Ministers from the three devolved administrations have written to Chancellor George Osborne seeking an urgent meeting to discuss their concerns around the EU referendum result and the resulting impact on devolved budgets.
Minister of Finance Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance Mark Drakeford, and Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek Mackay met in Cardiff today.
The Finance Ministers agreed to continue to work together on important financial issues of common interest, in particular against further cuts that might be pursued post referendum by the UK Government and to seek firm commitments on continued EU related funding streams.
Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “It is vital that the interests of the people across the devolved administrations are protected and that we work together on areas of common interest. Together we are seeking assurances from the Westminster Government around budgets and that the levels of current significant EU investment will be sustained.
“Obviously the potential economic impact on the border region in the North of Ireland, which has greatly benefited from European funding is of particular concern.
“Across these islands, we all share a desire to provide clarity amidst the uncertainty that the EU Referendum has created. As devolved finance ministers we have agreed to act resolutely to protect the interests of all our people especially against further austerity policies that might be pursued as a result of the referendum.”
Mr Drakeford said: “The referendum result has raised a number of uncertainties common across all our devolved administrations. It is clear that it will have an impact on the UK’s fiscal position and this will inevitably impact on our devolved budgets.
“Today’s meeting gave us an opportunity to come together to share our concerns and to explore how we can speak with one voice in our talks with Westminster. That is why we have written to the Chancellor requesting a meeting to raise our collective concerns and to seek assurances for our people, communities and businesses.
“Wales is a net beneficiary from the European Union with the millions of pounds we receive helping people into work and training, supporting businesses and regenerating communities. The UK Government must now guarantee that Wales will not lose a penny of this crucial funding as a result of leaving the EU.”
Mr Mackay said: “I firmly believe that membership of the European Union is in the best interests of Scotland, which is why the Scottish Government is absolutely committed to pursuing all possible avenues to maintain our place in the EU, in line with the way people in Scotland voted.
“We remain unclear on the likely impact of Brexit on UK Government finances, and we are already seeing the UK Government suggest changes to future spending plans as well as considerable concern over the economy and investment levels.
“The devolved administrations need urgent answers from the UK Government on the impact that the Brexit vote could have on future budgets, and that is why it is crucial that we meet with Mr Osborne imminently.
“I have already expressed concerns about the impact this will have on this year’s Scottish budget process, and given this uncertainty, there is a strong case for publishing a one year rather than a three year budget this year.”
Read the full text at the link below.
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