THE UK Government must treat the devolved nations as “equals” to secure recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the First Minister has said.

Following a four-nation summit, chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon said that “nothing substantial” had come from the meeting.

Sturgeon and her counterpart in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford, said that they both made clear to Johnson that a “power grab” and “muscling in” on devolved spending areas would not help.

In fact, Welsh Labour leader Drakeford warned the PM he could cause the break-up of the UK if he decides to “steal powers and steal money” from the Welsh government.

Meanwhile, Sturgeon said that although there wasn’t much substance to the discussions, she hopes that there will be in future.

Speaking to the BBC after the summit, she said: “It was a frank discussion, you know, I and indeed the First Minister of Wales made clear that if we are to have good faith discussions about working together where we can then that’s not helped by the power grab and the UK Government trying to muscle in on devolved spending.

READ MORE: Richard Murphy: Rishi Sunak, austerity and the threat to Scotland

“We then had a discussion that shared some experiences around Covid, but the proof in the pudding of all of this is going to be whether it has an impact, whether it changes any of the decisions of the UK Government that impact on the devolved nations.

“The Scottish Government had put forward some very specific suggestions around the extension of furlough, the need for there to be stability and certainty in public spending, for example the importance of a green recovery and a number of other things, so I made clear if these summits are going to be worthwhile then we really need to see not any of us getting everything that we ask for, but real progress around these issues.”

Last night, the First Minister added: “We are of course willing to work together on recovery from the pandemic, but the UK Government needs to listen and act on key Scottish Government concerns.

“Because of the powers that rest in Westminster, the decisions the UK Government takes have a major impact on the kind of fair recovery we are trying to build in Scotland.

“I sought assurances that there would be no return to the cruel and damaging austerity of the past and that furlough and the £20 uplift in Universal Credit will be extended. The proof of the worth of this meeting depends on whether the UK Government takes these issues seriously and responds accordingly.

“This meeting also took place at a time when the UK Government is undermining devolution through the Internal Market Act and diverting funding away from the Scottish Parliament.

“This has to stop and instead the UK Government needs to start treating the Scottish Government and other devolved governments as equal partners.”

Asked if his and Nicola Sturgeon’s recent election victories emboldened them to demand a fuller agenda for yesterday’s rearranged coronavirus recovery summit, Drakeford said: “We have refreshed mandates, that’s for sure.

“And that’s part of the reason the meeting was held when it was held, in the aftermath of those elections.

“I did have to be as clear as I could with the Prime Minister that if the UK Government thinks that the best way to meld the United Kingdom together is to steal powers and steal money away from the Welsh government, then that is deeply, deeply counterproductive and has completely the opposite impact when we have to do things differently from now on.”

READ MORE: 'Queen's reign could end with Union collapse' says US mag

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who was also at the summit, told the BBC that the meeting was “constructive” and was about the “whole UK approach to recovery from the pandemic.

Jack also said that the FM’s assessment that “nothing substantial” had come from the meeting was a “fair reflection”.

He said: “It was about what we can learn and work, you know, learn from what’s happened and how we can work better together acknowledging that there are devolved administrations, there are also two governments in those devolved administrations and it’s incredibly important that we work constructively together to improve the livelihoods of people.”

On the Scottish Government’s request to extend the furlough scheme, Jack said the UK Government would “have an open mind”.

He said: “Who knows where we’ll be at the end of September. I hope we will have opened up all of our businesses across the UK, and will be in a much better place, but if a variant comes and gets round the vaccine it effectively puts us back to square one.”

It is understood the PM has committed to more regular four nation meetings to discuss issues around the pandemic recovery.