RISHI Sunak is being urged to use today’s emergency mini-budget to devolve more fiscal powers to the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In an unprecedented joint message to the Chancellor ahead of his summer statement in the Commons, the finance secretaries of the three devolved administration asked for capital spending to be moved over to day-to-day revenue and for an end to “arbitrary” limits on borrowing.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said that without this any funding used to secure the recovery and pay for public services, funds would need to be found from elsewhere in its budget.

Forbes said: “They are relatively limited powers but would ease some of the immense pressures on our budget and give us more tools to kick-start our recovery.

“At the moment, any extra money spent bolstering services and supporting the economic recovery must be taken from other areas.

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“That creates risks for our essential public services, jobs and businesses.

“I am therefore calling on the Chancellor to ease these rigid fiscal rules and give us the flexibility we need to properly address the monumental challenges our economy is facing.”

Forbes added she would like to see “greater ambition in the level of investment in our economy”.

Rebecca Evans, who holds the finance portfolio in Wales, said the response from her Government had been “hampered” by current fiscal rules.

“There is no clear rationale for these rules, which undermine good budget management in Wales,” she said.

Northern Ireland Finance Minister Conor Murphy said it is “crucial” for devolved administrations to be given the powers allowing them to “respond swiftly and effectively” to the challenges presented by Covid-19.

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The Chancellor is also coming under pressure to extend the furlough scheme.

Figures released yesterday revealed that by Sunday, there were 9.4 million workers furloughed by 1.1m employers, with the Treasury’s bill currently standing at £27.4 billion. It’s set to start winding down at the end of this month, with firms expected to start contributing towards the cost of wages.

This tapering has already prompted a number of job losses.

Yesterday, the OECD warned that unemployment could reach 14.8% – one in seven of all workers – if there is another spike in cases of the deadly disease.

Even if the UK manages to avoid a second wave, the body predicts joblessness to reach 11.7%. At the end of last year it was 3.8%.

Yesterday, speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon urged the Chancellor to consider if a job guarantee scheme for those aged 16 to 25.

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Outlining the Scottish Government’s recommendations, the First Minister said: “We believe that the UK’s programme should tackle inequality, support jobs and have a strong focus on investment in low-carbon and digital infrastructure.

“We’ve also recommended an employment guarantee for young people, a policy the Scottish Government is looking at ourselves, and we’ve called for a temporary cut in VAT to boost consumption, with especially low rates for our hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Finally, we have proposed Scotland should have greater financial powers, for example over borrowing, so we can play our own part in and shape our own response to the economic implications of the pandemic.”

The First Minister insisted the policies to be put forward today “must meet the scale of the economic challenges that the UK faces”.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Retail Consortium backed calls for a cut in VAT rates, saying this could “spark the economy”.