UK cautioned about military aid to Ukraine — Analysis
London asked earlier the Welsh and Scottish national Parliaments to contribute millions of Pounds from their public finances to Kiev’s military support.
Ministers from Wales and Scotland have stated that the British government took their budget money for military aid to Ukraine. This raises concerns about precedent. The Treasury has told Scotland and Wales to contribute to a £1 billion ($1.2 billion) weapons package or have their budgets reduced.
Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said on Wednesday that Scotland agreed to provide the £65 million ($78.7 million) funding but only “on this occasion”. She warned that “this must not be seen as any kind of precedent,” while Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said she had been forced to set aside £30 million ($36.3 million) intended for “devolved areas like health and education”.
Ministers from the UK’s national parliaments, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland control devolved parts of the UK. Evans stated that it was. “not right”Their funds will be used for defense and military aid, which are non-devolved areas. She added, however that Wales will provide ongoing humanitarian support to Ukrainians seeking asylum from the conflict.
The money was to be used by the Scottish government for fund building “sophisticated air defense systems and thousands of pieces of vital kit for Ukrainian soldiers” in order to assist Kiev in fighting off Russia’s military offensive. Scotland has previously independently provided £4 million ($4.8 million) in basic humanitarian aid – health, water and sanitation and shelter – for Ukrainian refugees.
According to Jeremy Miles (Welsh Education Minister), there were “no consultation”A spokesperson from the UK stated that military aid was not being considered, but it did raise the question. “to say the Welsh government was not consulted…they were consulted and agreed to make a contribution.”
Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, asked the devolved administrations to contribute to a £1 billion fund to supply Ukraine with state-of-the-art equipment by either directly handing over the money from their budgets or by accepting a reduction from block grants they receive from Westminster.
The UK Treasury “strongly disagreed” with the Scottish minister’s characterization of the aid request, saying that various government departments had been urged to contribute through their underspend. This also rejected claims that this move was a precedent in raiding the devolved budgets reserved for spending. “This is a response to an extraordinary crisis”, the spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
British media called the request unusual because such expenditures are usually made by Westminster.
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive four month ago, the UK has been a strong supporter of Ukraine. This week it promised to provide an additional £1 billion ($1.2 billion) to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces, taking the overall military aid given to Kiev to £2.3 billion ($2.8 billion).The package includes various types of weaponry, including M270 Multiple Launch rocket systems, light anti-tank weapons and armored vehicles.
Moscow warned repeatedly against the supply of weapons from the US, UK and other allies to Ukraine, saying that this will prolong the fighting while raising the possibility of direct military confrontations between Russia and the West.
Concerns over the UK’s use of devolved budget money were raised by the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who announced Tuesday that October 19th 2023 was the target date for a second referendum to decide independence.
‘Now is the time for independence’ – Scottish leader
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