Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Giving us some of our own money isn't generosity


The ‘Welsh’ Conservatives have this week issued a little digital poster claiming that “Wales has received more than £4 billion from the UK Government to tackle COVID-19”, and labelled it in large letters as “FACT”. When is a fact not a fact? One answer to that is ‘when Boris Johnson says it’ of course, but another is ‘when it’s a distortion of the truth’. And distortion is being kind in this case.

What they actually mean is that the UK Treasury (a treasury which, as its name suggests, is supposed to serve the whole UK) has magicked large sums of new money into existence through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Bank of England, and has spent that money across the UK. In the case of Wales, it has passed part of Wales’ share of that money across to the Welsh Government to spend. Nothing particularly remarkable or generous about that, nothing that Wales couldn’t have done itself with the financial powers of an independent country. A more accurate message would be “UK Government passes part of Wales’ share of UK’s new money to Welsh Government”, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring of supplicant and master to it.

It’s interesting, not to say revealing, that they see the UK Government as something outside of and apart from Wales which voluntarily opts to give Wales something which we wouldn’t otherwise get. It’s an attitude which demonstrates why the union is, ultimately, doomed.


Crwt o'r Wlad said...

Definitely not generosity but it does show that the Tories are already starting to fight the next UK (and to a lesser extent) the Assembly elections next year.

Anonymous said...

Persistent debtors with few assets and a disappointing outlook aren't able to borrow or magic up new money just when they need it.

Just saying!

John Dixon said...


I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make here, but I suspect you're revealing a certain lack of understanding about what money is and how it works, let alone about how the UK's finances work in practice. "Persistent debtors with few assets and a disappointing outlook" is a pretty good description of the UK at present, but as events have shown, that doesn't prevent the creation of massive amounts of new money. If you were intending it to be a description of Wales, you're even further off beam - Wales isn't a persistent debtor, not least because the Welsh Government isn't allowed to borrow very much money under Westminster-imposed rules.