FINANCE heads in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have united in a Covid cash call to the Treasury.

The three finance ministers have also made a joint appeal to Westminster over the cost of living crisis.

Last month additional funding was pledged to tackle the impact of Covid as a result of spending choices in England.

The Scottish Government's share is £440 million, with £270m going to the Welsh Government and £150m to the Northern Ireland Executive.

But it's feared that if this money is handed over late, the devolved administrations may not be allowed to carry the case over into next year's budgets. That's despite such provision being extended in 2021-22.

Scottish Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said talks had been "constructive", adding: "The Scottish Government remains concerned that the additional funding we have received to mitigate the impact of the Omicron variant may be subject to future deductions. Without the ability to borrow, this continuing uncertainty could have a substantial damaging impact on our Covid response and our ability to support public services in Scotland.

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"More fundamentally, the situation highlights once again that it is not tenable for funding only to be triggered by public health decisions in England. A system is required that supports the decisions of each devolved administration and is not beholden to the decisions of one part of the UK."

Treasury support must be available to devolved governments when it is needed, regardless of the picture in England, the ministers say.

Rebecca Evans of Wales stated: "Last month, as the Omicron variant took hold, the Treasury hesitated before providing Wales with funding to meet the challenges. When funding did come, we received no guarantee that it would not need to be returned.

"The Treasury must recognise the importance of fully supporting devolved nations to help protect our businesses and protect our populations."

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak must provide more supports for the public in the wake of a 5.1% inflation rate driving fuel bills, grocery prices and other costs up, it is claimed.


The rise follows the October removal of the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift brought in as a temporary Covid support measure for the lowest income households.

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Connor Murphy, Northern Ireland's Minister of Finance, said: "The cost of living crisis is causing hardship for families and businesses.

"I’ve been calling on Treasury to suspend VAT on energy bills temporarily to provide reprieve during the difficult winter period. It is time for Treasury to act now."