Devolved ministers to make united call for greater fiscal flexibility

Finance Minister Conor Murphy is expected to call for greater fiscal flexibility from the Treasury. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Ryan McAleer

FINANCE Minister Conor Murphy will join his counterparts in Scotland and Wales to make a united call for greater fiscal flexibility from the UK Treasury.

It's understood the Sinn Féin minister is due to deliver an oral statement in the Assembly chamber on Tuesday morning.

In what’s believed to be a first for the devolved administrations, Scotland’s Chief Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes and the Welsh Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans, will also present oral statements on Tuesday.

The united front is seen as a direct response to the cancellation of the Autumn Budget by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which has impacted spending plans for the devolved administrations.

It’s understood Mr Murphy will call for clarity and more information from the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review in order to plan Stormont’s upcoming budget.

The devolved ministers will also call for greater fiscal flexibility from London to assist their response to Covid-19.

In an exclusive interview with The Irish News, Mr Murphy said the process to assess budgetary requirements had already started

“We have to then go out and consult on a draft budget, we have to legislate for one in early spring time. So the clock’s ticking for us. All of that is informed by what’s happening in London.”

In terms of responding to the additional Covid-19 restrictions on north west businesses, Mr Murphy said “the best, most effective and quickest way to get money out” would be a scheme using rate-payer data.

READ MORE: Using LPS data the most effective way to get money to hard hit businesses in the north west says Conor Murphy

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