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Finance ministers' plea to Chancellor: 'No more cuts'

Chancellor Phillip Hammond will unveil his first Budget on 8 March. Photo: PA

The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Finance Ministers have sent a joint letter to the Treasury arguing that the Chancellor should not impose any further spending cuts in the Budget.

Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, Scotland's Derek Mackay and Northern Ireland's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir also say they're very concerned by the implications of this week's Brexit speech by the Prime Minister.

The UK Government [needs] to engage meaningfully with the devolved administrations on the emerging economic and financial implications of exiting the EU. The Prime Minister’s speech this week confirming the UK Government’s intention to leave the European single market and the Customs Union are a cause for significant concern, given the risks this presents to our economy. Risks which the UK Government’s own analysis estimates could reduce UK GDP by 6.2% compared to 2015, even in the case of a negotiated bilateral agreement.

We also remain very concerned about the potential impact of the further cuts to publics pending that you intend to make in 2019-20. We seek reassurances that you will not pass on further austerity and make additional budget cuts on top of the real terms reductions in spending power that the devolved administrations are already facing.

– Joint letter from the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Finance Ministers