From Welsh government funds, Row over PS30m for Ukraine

There has been a row over PS30m being taken from the Welsh government's budget and put towards the PS1bn that the UK sends to Ukraine for military assistance.

From Welsh government funds, Row over PS30m for Ukraine

There has been a row over PS30m being taken from the Welsh government's budget and put towards the PS1bn that the UK sends to Ukraine for military assistance.

The money will be sourced from the capital budget of the Welsh ministers, which is used to finance projects like roads and hospitals.

Rebecca Evans, Finance Minister, stated that she was willing to give the cash rather than having it removed later by UK Treasury processes.

She also stated that the cash was not right and was worrying.

She stated that it was not right for Welsh government money being used on items normally handled by Westminster.

Ms Evans explained to a Senedd committee she was asked to provide the money either "upfront" (or through a budget cut later), as a result of UK departments that provide cash for military aid.

The UK government disputed Jeremy Miles' claim that the Welsh government had not been consulted.

The Scottish government will provide PS65m to Ukraine from its budgets.

Boris Johnson, speaking at NATO summit, stated that "UK weapons and equipment are transforming Ukraine’s defenses against this assault." We will stand firm behind the Ukrainian people in order to prevent Putin's defeat in Ukraine.

In addition to the PS1.5bn in humanitarian and economic assistance provided to Ukraine since February, the UK has also offered military support to Ukraine.

Rebecca Evans, the Welsh Finance Minister, stated that it was "a novel and worrying approach by Treasury - seeking out to use devolved bugets, which should be used for investment in devolved area, such as health, education, and to fund reserved spending areas like military aid and defense."

She stated that the UK government should provide funding for these areas.

She said: "Ultimately, due to the extraordinary circumstances, we have accepted the situation in light our ongoing commitment support Ukraine and the Ukrainian citizens in their fight against the senseless act of aggression. But it should not be considered a precedent."

Devolved areas refer to parts of government policy that are managed by ministers in Wales' government. They are also the subject of laws made by the Senedd.

Foreign aid and the armed forces are not subject to devolution.

Radio Wales Breakfast Welsh Education Minister Jeremy Miles stated that ministers in Cardiff were "told by the UK Treasury that the budget would be reduced".

He stated, "There was no consultation."

However, the UK government denied this.

A spokesperson stated that "To claim the Welsh government wasn't consulted on this issue is incorrect. They were consulted, and they agreed to make a contribution."

"Following discussions with the chief secretary, finance ministers from the Welsh and Scottish governments decided to contribute to the international effort to help Ukraine after Russia's illegal, unprovoked invasion."

Ms Evans stated that the consultation was a call with Simon Clarke (chief secretary to Treasury), a week ago, "where he laid out the options and then we had a few days to think about those options before we responded to the Treasury".

She claimed that Clarke had informed her that the UK government was looking to all Whitehall departments "to return 1.5% of capital budgets to finance this particular intervention".

"The decision was made at that point to either pay upfront a contribution from Wales which would be approximately the same order of funding or to wait until later in the year to have that reduced as negative consequences (where cuts in UK government spending on matters Welsh Ministers are responsible for in Wales results in the Welsh government budget dropping).

After the UK government's repeated plans to repeal a Welsh trade union law, the dispute over Ukraine funding is now the second between UK and Welsh ministers.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Finance Secretary, said that ministers in Scotland agreed to provide funding for this occasion "given the clear need to maximize the international effort to help Ukraine".

She said, however, that this should not be interpreted as a precedent for devolved budgets being used in order to pay for policy areas clearly markedly reserved.

Llyr Gruffydd (who speaks on behalf of Plaid Cymru in finance matters) made the same point.

He stated that money that was meant to be invested in areas Wales has control over - such as health, education and transport - should not be used to finance non-devolved spending areas.

David TC Davies, Wales Office minister, stated that the "British government gave incredible support to Ukraine".

He stated that "at the end of the day the parliamentary government will not do anything to undermine the devolution."

This row is deep in the weeds about how the Welsh government finances itself.

The UK ministers claim that they gave ministers in Cardiff the opportunity to contribute cash to Ukraine's aid fund now. However, the money was not removed from the bank later due to Whitehall spending.

The Welsh ministers counter that the UK government is spending money on Whitehall department's underspending when the Welsh government departments work in a way to avoid such underspending.

Ministers from Wales say that it is wrong to reduce their budget due to England's underspending.

The Scottish government is not a fan of Boris Johnson's administration and has decided to not have the same high-octane dispute with the UK government.

No matter what the UK's funding system is, it is not a good idea to raise cash to support Ukraine's struggle for survival.

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