Devolved finance ministers accuse Treasury of keeping them in the dark over Brexit

The finance ministers of the UK’s devolved governments have said the Treasury is ignoring them over Brexit.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish ministers made the accusation after meeting chief secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, in Edinburgh this week.

They said they there was a “lack of assurances” from Westminster that the devolved governments would have a say during the Brexit negotiations.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has warned that another independence referendum is “all but inevitable” if the UK government disregards her plans to keep Scotland in the single market. Similar plans have also been put forward in Wales.

Speaking after the Treasury meeting SNP finance secretary, Derek Mackay, said he was “disappointed about this lack of progress with the UK Government”.

“It is essential for the devolved administrations to be at the heart of any decision making. We need clarity from the UK government, as we have the right to have our say on how devolved budgets and our economy will be affected by a hard Brexit,” Mackay said.

“I asked again that the UK government give serious consideration to the proposals the Scottish government has put forward and responds constructively, in the interests of the people of Scotland. Keeping Scotland in the European single market is absolutely essential for Scottish jobs, investment and long-term economic wellbeing.”

Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford spoke against a hard Brexit.

He said: “A hard Brexit would be highly damaging to the Welsh and UK economy. That is why we have repeatedly called for full and unfettered access to the single market.

“We need a clear signal from the UK government that the views of the devolved administrations are taken into account so we secure a future post Brexit that works for Wales and for the rest of the UK.”

Stormont finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir added: “I have previously been on record saying there is a lack of understanding of the calamitous effects that Brexit would have on our local economy and there has been no appreciation of the need for a special status for the North within the EU. Nothing I have heard today changes that.”

UK Brexit minister, Robin Walker, attempted to sooth concerns.

He said: “It’s vitally important we get a deal that works for all of the UK, and Scotland’s voice will be heard loud and clear as we prepare for the upcoming negotiations. (The Scottish people) are hugely important to us as we continue to form our negotiating strategy.”