Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Economy to dominate leaders' talks

Prime Minister David Cameron is to hold talks with other leaders.

The economy is expected to dominate talks between Prime Minister David Cameron and the leaders of the devolved administrations.

The Tory leader will chair the first plenary session of the joint ministerial committee (JMC) which brings together the heads of all the UK nations.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will also attend the talks with Alex Salmond, Peter Robinson and Carwyn Jones, the First Ministers of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister considers the joint ministerial committee to be an important part of the new relationship of respect between the UK Government and the devolved nations. The meeting is a vital way of ensuring that the whole of the UK can move forward in an atmosphere of co-operation on issues that affect us all."

The Nationalist administration in Scotland will also be represented by finance secretary John Swinney and external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop, while the new Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Michael Moore will also be present.

The SNP are expected to push for all three devolved administrations to receive "consequentials" from the UK Government regeneration spending associated with the London Olympics, in line with the Barnett formula which allocates spending across the UK.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "We now know that Barnett was applied to a cut in the Olympic budget as part of the overall £6.2 billion reduction in UK expenditure - which makes the case to apply the formula to the regeneration spending overwhelming.

"That would be practical evidence of the 'respect agenda' in action - and would also help the process of economic recovery, and mitigate the impact of Westminster spending cuts."

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will also attend the talks, along with Welsh Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones and the new Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan.

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