WELSH Government are continuing to press UK Government to bring forward support needed to help retain jobs across the country.

Earlier today, First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Senedd’s plenary he had written to the Chancellor asking him to bring forward the start date of the Job Support Scheme to October 23.

“It cannot be that it was financial reasons that prevented him from agreeing to that, because we agreed as a Welsh Government to pay the additional £11 million that it would’ve cost the Treasury from our own resources if that was the sticking point,” Mr Drakeford told MSs.

“So it can not have been turned down on cost grounds, and it is difficult to see why the Chancellor didn’t feel that he was able to play his part.

“I have written again to him today offering him a different solution – a solution in which the qualifying terms for the last week of the furlough scheme will be brought into line with the Job Support Scheme which will begin from November 1 and make it more available to more citizens here in Wales.

“We keep offering solutions and so far the UK Government keeps turning them down. I do hope the Chancellor will find a different answer in his repertoire in response to my letter today.”

Economy minister Ken Skates later told a Welsh Government media briefing that ministers were continuing to press the UK Government for support.

He said: "As the First Minister explained yesterday, we pressed the chancellor to bring forward the new jobs support scheme to ensure that all those working for businesses which are forced to close would receive financial support for all employees and would not have access to schemes during this firebreak.”

Mr Skates said that Welsh Government have even offered to “make up the difference” between funding for each employee under the job retention scheme and the job support scheme – but this has so far been refused.

He added: "We are continuing to press the Treasury to do all they can to ensure employees and employers in Wales will benefit from UK Government support during the firebreak to the maximum possible extent."

Ken Skates explained the Welsh Government wanted to top up the UK-wide job support scheme when it replaces the furlough scheme but could not unless it received co-operation from HM Treasury.

The Labour MS said the Welsh Government was prepared to spend around £11 million topping up the wages of people affected to make up the difference in levels of support between the job retention scheme and the new job support scheme.

"So far the Treasury has not responded in a way that we would wish them to," Mr Skates continued.

"However, I can say that the First Minister has today written again to the Chancellor with another practical solution. Now it's important to say that we do not have control over tax records, this is an HMRC administrative issue and it's a reserved matter.

"We need the UK Government to step up and provide the wage subsidy scheme for every single worker who needs it.

"We expect them to do so and, as I've said, we are willing and ready to provide additional financial support and make sure that that scheme is enhanced for everybody affected.

"I don't think it's beyond the imagination, the creativity, the wisdom and wit of the UK Treasury to be able to resolve what appears to be a very simple administrative issue."