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Funding rules 'unfair to England'

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posted on Jul, 10 2008 @ 10:16 AM

The Barnett formula covering government funding across the UK, is unfair to England, says a think tank.

IPPR North says it is becoming a "source of tension" - especially between England and Scotland.

It says, measured against economic performance and poverty, Scotland gets more funding than its needs suggest, while England gets less.

The Scottish government says the only alternative is full fiscal autonomy and control of its own resources, like oil.

The Barnett formula has been used to share out central government funding since the 1970s, but even Lord Barnett, after whom it was named, says it should be scrapped because he believes it is unfair.

The report by IPPR North says the government spent £4,523 per head in England in 2007/08, compared with £5,050 in Wales, £5,676 in Scotland and £5,684 in Northern Ireland.

It says spending in Northern Ireland and Scotland was about 21% and in Wales 8% higher than the UK average, while in England it is 3% lower.


This has been addressed in some recent threads, but has never had a thread devoted to it as far as I know, and it raises the question which members have previously stated, which is: Should the Barnett formula be axed?

The figures shown and mentioned in the report seem grossly unfair to England and are hugely weighted in favour of the other home nations, which seems doubly unfair when it is England which generates much of the UK's wealth.

The question is, what would the formula be replaced with, and could any replacement system be another step towards further devolution?

As ever, all thoughts on the issue are most welcome

IPPR North Website

[edit on 10/7/2008 by budski]

posted on Jul, 10 2008 @ 12:51 PM
Yes, the Barnett formula needs to be reworked - it was supposed to be a stop-gap measure anyway that successive governments simply ignored because they couldn't think of a solution.

The big question is, what do we replace it with? I disagree with IPPR North's suggestions - they wouldn't help national unity in the long term.

I think the best approach is to make the UK more integrated. Abolish the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (leave the NI Assembly since it's part of the peace process) and split their powers between local government (which needs a shake-up anyway) and the UK Parliament at Westminister. Funding is then allocated on a basis of population and need (some inner city areas of places like London and Glasgow clearly need more funding than other areas like Kensington and Chelsea or Knightsbridge). This would make any complaints about a certain Home Nation getting more void, because funding would be determined at a local government level and it would depend purely upon the circumstances of each individual area. It means that areas with large pockets of poverty and crime can get the money they need without needing a costly middleman like the Scottish Parliament/Welsh Assembly to funnel it to them.

We only need two levels of government and bureaucracy - UK-wide and Local. This trend towards assemblies and parliaments is simply a waste of taxpayer's money. According to the Daily Telegraph, it cost £650m in 2004 to run the two devolved assemblies - Stormont wasn't operating at that point (it's probably more now). If you add on the £400m construction costs of the Scottish Parliament and the £70m for the new Welsh Assembly building, that's well over a billion for Scotland and Wales alone. If it costs £1.12billion for assemblies to represent the population of Scotland and Wales (about 8million people) that means it costs £140 per person in Scotland and Wales for their parliaments and assemblies. If England decided to have a devolved parliament, it could cost about £7billion!

The savings from closing the assemblies could be allocated as extra funding to Wales and Scotland respectively, with the rest handed out on the criteria I discussed above.

[edit on 10/7/08 by Ste2652]

posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 02:52 PM
Here's a better idea

Abolish the UK Anglo-centric parliament and have a 3 federal parliaments in England Scotland and Wales and then have a rotating UK "presidency" that sits in each constituent nation to consider island wide matters

[edit on 17-7-2008 by dj howls]

posted on Jul, 21 2008 @ 07:21 AM
reply to post by dj howls


England is the only country which doesn't have it's own national assembly to rule on only english issues, and recieves less money per capita than any other country in the union.

How is that anglo-centric???

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