London earlier asked the Scottish and Welsh national parliaments to commit millions of pounds from public funds to militarily support Kyiv
The Scottish and Welsh ministers said the UK government had taken their budgetary funds for military aid to Ukraine, fearing it could set a precedent. The Treasury has told Scotland and Wales to contribute a £1bn ($1.2bn) arms package or see their budgets slashed.
Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said on Wednesday Scotland had agreed to provide the £65m ($78.7m) funding, but only “on this occasion”. She warned that “this should not be considered as a kind of precedent”, while Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said she was forced to set aside £30m ($36.3m) intended for “deconcentrated areas such as health and education”.
Devolved regions in the UK are controlled by ministers from the national parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Evans said it was “Not true” to use their funds for military aid and defence, a non-decentralized area of spending. At the same time, she added that Wales would continue to provide humanitarian support to Ukrainians arriving in the country every day fleeing the conflict.
The Scottish government said the money would be used to help fund “sophisticated air defense systems and thousands of pieces of vital equipment for Ukrainian soldiers” to help kyiv repel the Russian military offensive. Scotland has previously independently provided £4 million ($4.8 million) in basic humanitarian aid – health, water and sanitation and shelter – to Ukrainian refugees.
According to Welsh Education Minister Jeremy Miles, there were “no consultation” on the issue of military aid, although a UK government spokesman told the BBC that was incorrect “to say that the Welsh government has not been consulted… they have been consulted and have agreed to make a contribution.”
Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has asked devolved administrations to contribute to a £1billion fund to provide Ukraine with state-of-the-art equipment by either handing over money directly from their budgets or accepting a reduction of the block grants they receive from Westminster.
The British Treasury “Strongly disagree” with the Scottish Minister’s characterization of the request for aid, saying that various government departments had been asked to contribute through their under-spending. He also refuted claims that the move would set a precedent for plundering decentralized budgets for earmarked spending areas. “It is a response to an extraordinary crisis,” said the spokesman quoted by the Daily Telegraph.
British media described the request as highly unusual, as such expenses usually come from Westminster.
The UK has been one of Ukraine’s biggest supporters since the Russian offensive began four months ago. This week he pledged to provide an additional £1 billion ($1.2 billion) to support Ukraine’s armed forces, bringing overall military aid to Kyiv to £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion). dollars). The package includes various types of weapons, including M270 Multiple Launch rocket systems, light anti-tank weapons and armored vehicles.
Moscow has repeatedly warned against arms deliveries to Ukraine from the US, UK and other allies, saying it will only prolong the fighting, while increasing the risk of a direct military confrontation between Russia and the West.
Concerns over the devolved budget funds used by the UK government arose when Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday the target date of October 19, 2023 for a second referendum on independence from the UK.
“The time has come for independence” – the Scottish leader
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