UK must borrow more says Welsh Finance Minister

Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt has called on the UK Government to borrow more money to boost the economy. She has signed a joint letter with the Scottish and Northern Irish Finance Ministers setting out what they want for their countries from Wednesday's spending announcement by the Chancellor.

They call for extra funds to pay for construction projects that would stimulate economic growth and create jobs. But they say their capital budgets should not be increased at the expense of other areas of spending. They claim that the benefits would justify a short term increase in borrowing.

The evidence is clear - well chosen public infrastructure investments can have both short term and, more importantly, sustained, long term benefits for the economy. That is why a key component of our response to the continuing weakness in the UK economy has been concerted action to boost infrastructure investment.

We have a range of priority infrastructure projects which can be brought forward to make use of additional resources and make a positive contribution to growth in the UK economy. We are now urging the UK Government to do all in their power to support the work we are undertaking by boosting our capital budgets to allow us to invest in the infrastructure we need to boost growth and create jobs

– Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM

Jane Hutt said that the letter followed what she called a 'useful discussion' between herself, Scotland's John Swinney, Sammy Wilson from Northern Ireland and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. But spending cuts are expected as a result of Wednesday's announcement.

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Devolution differences

The Welsh Secretary claims the current devolution settlement does not need major changes but urges the Welsh Government to use its powers more effectively. Meanwhile all three devolved governments have called for more borrowing by the Treasury.