Finance ministers across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have jointly called on the UK Treasury to guarantee that money allocated to support Covid responses will be provided in full.

The ministers are also calling for action to help people throughout the UK tackle their rising bills, as part of the cost-of-living crisis.

The Welsh Government was allocated £270m from the Treasury last month to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministers from the devolved countries re-iterated a request for the Treasury to provide support to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if the current situation in each country demands it.

With the cost-of-living crisis, the three devolved nations had previously opposed the UK Government’s withdrawal of the £20-per-week uplift to Universal Credit in October 2021.

With inflation rising to 5.1 per cent, and increasingly expensive food, transport and clothing contributing to higher household bills to all countries across the UK, the devolved nations’ finance ministers are calling for more support to households.

Rebecca Evans, Welsh Government Finance Minister, said: “We need to see urgent action from the Treasury to help people with rising bills and living costs. Domestic energy prices are of particular concern at the moment with more and more people living in fuel poverty.

“This winter the Welsh Government invested £51m in our Household Support Fund to help households, but most of the powers and the fiscal resources needed to address the cost-of-living crisis are in the UK Government’s hands. The Treasury must step up.

“Additional support through targeted UK-wide schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and other winter fuel payments would lessen the burden on hard pressed households.

“Arrangements for Covid funding also need to change. Last month, as the omicron variant took hold, the Treasury hesitated before providing Wales with funding to meet the challenges.

“When funding did come, we received no guarantee that it would not need to be returned. The Treasury must recognise the importance of fully supporting devolved nations to help protect our businesses and protect our populations.”