Boris Johnson to chair four-country coronavirus recovery summit
Boris Johnson will chair a coronavirus recovery summit on Thursday afternoon with leaders of devolved nations.
The revamped meeting was due to take place last week, but was postponed after the Wales and Scottish prime ministers withdrew as they wanted it to be a “meaningful discussion with substantial results”.
Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford then wrote to the Prime Minister asking for more substance and clarity on the summit.
Ahead of the summit, the Scottish Prime Minister called on the UK government to extend the leave again – and to ensure that pre-existing inequalities are not further exacerbated by the crisis.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘We have done all we can with the limited powers at our disposal to tackle inequality and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on people’s livelihoods, but we cannot allow this to happen. erodes as we enter the next phase of life with the virus.
“A return to pre-pandemic austerity would be disastrous for jobs, for public services and for individuals and families across Scotland.
“While the UK government has the main financial levers to help us recover, I will call on them to commit to sustaining public spending during the recovery period and to extending the leave scheme for as long as it is. necessary to protect businesses and people who have been forced to stop working to protect others, and I will emphasize that they are managed sensitively in a way that promotes long-term recovery.
“I have been assured that this will be a meaningful discussion, and it must be. Working to recover from Covid cannot be a public relations exercise – it must be a collaborative process that properly follows the devolution regulations.
“The Scottish government demands certainty on funding. Without it, people across Scotland who have had to endure so much in the past 14 months would not have the assurance that their jobs are protected, and their public services will continue to be funded at an appropriate level, no matter what. either the virus in reserve, that is to say the bare minimum of our expectations.
“For this summit to be productive in any way, all British nations must work together. In this context, the UK government must ensure meaningful engagement with decentralized administrations on the negotiation and governance of trade agreements, and respect decentralized parliaments by not diverting money to be spent by UK ministers. “
Mr Johnson called for the meeting following the Welsh and Scottish parliamentary elections last month as he called for a united approach “to overcome the significant challenges of the Covid recovery”.
The virtual summit is expected to bring together the Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers of the four nations as well as Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and the UK Government’s Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and North Ireland.
Ahead of the meeting, Mr Gove said: “I am delighted that the leaders of the decentralized administrations have all responded positively to the Prime Minister’s invitation to join this important meeting on the recovery of Covid.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked together to stop the spread of the virus and deploy life-saving vaccines.
“Our shared success has shown the world what we can achieve as a UK.
“We must take the same approach in the face of the difficult challenge of rebuilding our economy and our public services in the face of the adverse effects of Covid-19.
“It won’t be a quick or easy job, but we’ll all do better if we take on the challenge together. “
After the meeting was postponed last week, a spokesperson for the Scottish Prime Minister said: ‘The summit would take place tomorrow if the UK government prepared for it from a distance.
“As we and the Welsh Government made clear in our letter to the Prime Minister, what they had suggested was simply a public relations exercise without proper substance.
“We have asked that a detailed agenda be prepared for a serious meeting, which this topic deserves.”