Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish finance ministers have united to demand new financial powers from the UK Government.
Ahead of Rishi Sunak’s economic statement, devolved leaders are urging the Chancellor to “hand over the tools to kick-start the recovery”.
The ministers have called on the Treasury to give the devolved parliaments the ability to reallocate capital underspend on day-to-day spending and they have asked for the cap on borrowing to be lifted.
The new powers will be “critical” to securing a recovery from the coronavirus crisis, the minister have said.
Due to increased spending to tackle Covid-19, the Scottish Government’s overall budget for the 2020-21 financial year currently stands at more than £52 billion, up from an earlier estimate of £49.25 billion.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “The powers we are seeking will enable the Scottish Government to respond to Covid-19 more effectively and reboot our economy.
“They are relatively limited powers, but would ease some of the immense pressures on our budget and give us more tools to kick-start our recovery.
“At the moment, any extra money spent bolstering services and supporting the economic recovery must be taken from other areas. That creates risks for our essential public services, jobs and businesses.
“I am therefore calling on the Chancellor to ease these rigid fiscal rules and give us the flexibility we need to properly address the monumental challenges our economy is facing.”
It is crucial that the devolved administrations are equipped to respond swiftly and effectively to the challenges arising from Covid-19.”
Northern Ireland finance minister Conor Murphy
Ms Forbes also repeated SNP demands for an £80 billion UK-wide stimulus package to boost consumption, promote investment and protect jobs.
Northern Ireland finance minister Conor Murphy added: “It is crucial that the devolved administrations are equipped to respond swiftly and effectively to the challenges arising from Covid-19.”
And Welsh finance minister Rebecca Evans said: “The crisis has made the issue urgent. It’s time for the UK Government to act and provide the flexibility we need to respond and invest in Wales’ recovery.”
Mr Sunak, who was asked by MPs on Tuesday whether he would consider the proposal, said his team were in “constant dialogue” with the devolved governments.
He added: “The people of Scotland are able to benefit from the strong measures in place for the entire United Kingdom.”