The UK’s three devolved administrations have called on the Westminster government to scale back its planned spending cuts.
Chancellor George Osborne has been warned he could risk economic recovery in a joint statement by the Northern Ireland Executive, Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Government. They called on ministers to cut back plans to take billions from devolved budgets over the next four years and to spread it over a longer period instead.
The statement said: “There is now less than a fortnight until the publication of the UK’s comprehensive spending review and the Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Assembly Government wait with considerable apprehension to learn of the consequences for our respective budgets.
“While we recognise that a credible budget strategy is vital in returning the public finances to a sustainable footing and maintaining the confidence of the wider community including the financial markets, it is essential that we do not put the recovery at risk. We are concerned, however, that the UK government’s spending plans may do just that.”
The joint statement also said the Institute for Fiscal Studies had estimated the spending plans outlined in the June emergency budget represented the deepest and most sustained cuts to public services since at least the end of the Second World War. The devolved administrations said they believed the cuts were “too fast and too deep”. “The proposals to cut public spending to such an extent run the risk of stalling any recovery,” said the statement.