In the fight against Covid-19 the UK Government has given historic levels of financial support to the Welsh Government and directly to the people of Wales.
- UK Government guarantees the Welsh Government will receive a minimum of £1.1 billion in additional funding this year;
- The move gives the Welsh Government the certainty to ensure they can plan for coronavirus response in the months ahead;
- The guaranteed funding – which takes total to at least £4 billion for this year - will ensure people, businesses and public services in Wales get the support they need to recover from the pandemic.
The Welsh Government will receive a minimum of £1.1 billion in additional funding this year, on top of £2.9 billion confirmed since March to help provide support following the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has announced.
The unprecedented upfront guarantee – which will take the total amount of coronavirus funding guaranteed to the Welsh Government to a minimum of £4 billion for 2020/21 on top of their Spring Budget funding – will give the devolved administration the certainty and financial flexibility to plan for the months ahead.
Any changes to the devolved administrations funding are normally confirmed at the end of the financial year, but today’s guarantee means they have the certainty to spend this funding now, on priorities such as the NHS and additional business support.
This funding is on top of the Spending Round 2019 settlement which was the biggest day-to-day funding increase in a decade.
Today’s announcement follows the Prime Minister’s visit to Orkney yesterday, where he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to the union.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
“The UK Government is committed to doing everything it can to defeat coronavirus, and this additional funding for Wales – now worth £4 billion - will help the Welsh Government in delivering its response on the front line.
“This guarantee from UK Government means that the Welsh Government can invest to protect jobs and plan for Wales’ economic recovery. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure we can move forward together as well as providing additional economic support for workers and employers through the range of measures announced by the Chancellor.”
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay MP said:
““At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we said we would do everything we could to support the whole of the UK – whether that’s saving jobs or ensuring our vital NHS has the equipment it needs. And that is exactly what we have done.
“Today we go one step further by giving the Welsh Government the certainty they need to plan their own support schemes over the next few months.
“This is yet another sign of our support for the Union and commitment to securing an economic recovery for the whole of the United Kingdom.”
People and businesses in the Welsh Government, will also continue to benefit from the UK Government’s world-leading package of support to protect the economy, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and Bounce Back Loans. So far this has provided millions of pounds of support to business in Wales during the crisis – protecting jobs and livelihoods.
To date, more than 480,000 jobs in Wales have been supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Wales has also benefitted from the measures set out in the Plan for Jobs, including the Job Retention Bonus, funding to decarbonise public sector buildings, a demonstrator project to decarbonise social housing and funding to support research and development for Direct Air Capture, and VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism, as well as a Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme.
The UK Government is committed to strengthening the Union between England and Wales, rebuilding vital connections with all parts of the UK and spreading opportunity.
Matt Smith is a Conservative who stood for Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. He was a policy analyst at Vote Leave. He has written about Welsh politics for The Daily Telegraph, Conhome, BrexitCentral, CAPX, Institute of Welsh Affairs, and GlobalVisionUK. You can read more about Welsh politics at www.mattsmith.org.uk/news.