A FORMER Mid Wales Senedd member and Welsh finance minister, believes a meeting with the UK Government finance ministers was a missed opportunity for Wales.

Finance minister Rebecca Evans, who now serves Gower, believes the meeting, on Friday, was a chance not taken to provide Wales with greater flexibilities to meet the financial pressures associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

The finance quadrilateral with the chief secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay, Scottish finance minister Kate Forbes and Northern Irish finance minister Conor Murphy, was held to discuss arrangements for the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.

Ms Evans said she was happy that the UK Government was listening to the devolved nations, but was sceptical of how much of any funding will be new money.

“I welcome the certainty that last night’s announcement brings," she said.

"I know what we can expect for the remainder of this year to deal with coronavirus ahead of any funding announcements in England. I am pleased the UK Government has listened to and acted on my calls for certainty and clarity.

“But let’s be clear, only a proportion of this is genuinely new money. It’s a far cry from what Wales will need to reverse the long-term damage caused by the pandemic.

“This was also a missed opportunity for the Treasury to give us the much-need budget flexibilities, which will allow us to manage some of the coronavirus pressures by ourselves, within our own budgets.”

The Welsh Government has welcomed the certainty provided by the UK Government’s announcement of a further £1.2bn for Wales to respond to the pandemic but more than half of the funding – £675m – relates to spending on PPE and the winter pressures funding, which has already been announced.

But the Treasury today did not agree the Welsh Government’s request to access a greater share of the Welsh Reserve this year – a savings pot which the Welsh Government builds up and can draw on to boost its budget in emergencies – and other budget flexibilities to help relieve spending pressures.