Stormont to get extra £600m from Westminster to battle coronavirus

The UK government has guaranteed Stormont it will receive an extra £600 million in additional coronavirus funding this year.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 10:31 pm
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay announced the £3.7bn package before a visit to Edinburgh
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay announced the £3.7bn package before a visit to Edinburgh

It is part of a £3.7bn package that will also see extra cash go to the devolved administrations in Scotland (£1.9bn) and Wales (£1.2bn).

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay made the announcement ahead of a visit to Edinburgh.

The Treasury said the guaranteed funding takes the total given to the devolved administrations to at least £12.7 billion for 2020/21 to support coronavirus recovery.

Speaking ahead of his visit Mr Barclay 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 devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the additional 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.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes will use a meeting with Mr Barclay and her counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland to call for an urgent decision on new financial powers for Scotland.

The Scottish government wants the ability to borrow up to £500 million, with repayment periods extended to a maximum of 10 years from five years.

It has also requested powers to reallocate capital underspend on day-to-day spending and more flexibility on drawing down reserve money with the limit increased to £220 million.

Due to increased spending to tackle Covid-19, the Scottish Government’s overall budget for the 2020-21 financial year stands at more than £52 billion, up from an earlier estimate of £49.25 billion.