Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Is Scotland's Barnett going to be cut?

Nick RobinsonNick Robinson is prophesying the end of the Barnett Formula. Nick believes that Labour Ministers are in flap over the formula because the are worried that George Osborne may propose scrapping it. And that will be a massive vote winner in England.

And George knows that the government are struggling over the formula's future:

"These leaked documents suggest that while Gordon Brown refuses to consider any changes to the Barnett formula, Jack Straw is arguing for change, leaving Alistair Darling, as usual, the weak man in the middle. "The Government's spending policy is being pulled apart by the warring members of the Cabinet."
The Barnett Formula gives a subsidy of £1500 to each Scottish citizen. That money comes from the English tax payer and unsurprisingly many (myself included) want to see this outdated formula scrapped. Taxes are high enough under this government without sending a load of what is collected to Scotland.

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dirty european socialist said...

Lies. Scotland produces more than it is given. This is just mean English people stealing money of Scotland. Scotland subsidises the UK Thanks to the high oil prices.

Anonymous said...

Lies indeed.

Very deceptive. And shame on the people who actually hoover up this drivel.

Firstly, Scots pay tax too: We put money into the pot and take money out. Where does this idea come from that English taxes are dished out amongst the other UK nations?

Secondly, When producing revenue figures for Scotland there are a few major discrepensies. Tax gathered from Scotland's Whisky and Oil industries are not included for some unknown reason. Removing financial services from London's count would make London look like a public spending junkie, too.

Finally, The scottish government was allocated a budget of £28bn this year, or about £5600 for each of the 5 million residents of Scotland: rather less than the £8000 odd usually quoted. Official figures suggest Scotland produces somewhere in the region of £45bn to UK coffers, and so, contrary to popular tabloid belief is a net provider of public spending in the UK, rather than a net reciever.

Other money spent in Scotland is mainly on defense; that is the disproportionate amount of Scots in the Armed Forces and the Nuclear deterant based on the Clyde. These are included in the the 'tabloid' public spending figure of Scotland. These same tabloid figures do not include such things as the Olympic games, millenium dome, London Crossrail, Channel Tunnel and London underground extension in England's figures. So that's billions and billions of pounds wiped off England public expenditure per head, making it appear relativly low. Talk about doctoring figures to ones advantage.

What I would suggest: Move the nuclear weapons to London, maybe Greenwhich. See how that goes down. They'll be paying for them and keeping them in their own backyard instead of pawning them off to Scotland and placing them so close to Scotland's largest city. This expenditure will be removed from Scotland and added to England. We could also pretend that banking doesn't exist in England. Or we could choose some of England's other large industries. Remove those figures from England's provision to UK coffer's. Then, we could pretend that the Scottish parliament was never built, Glasgow's commonwealth games aren't happening. We could link ourselves to Ireland through the Irish sea but not include the building or maintenance of such tunnel in our expenditure figures.

Do all this and then the figures will be fair. Or, everyone could stop moaning and realise that Scotland is self-sustaining. It is in a good position (free education, free care for the elderly etc.) because of good governance. The SNP work with £28bn and provide this! Not £8000 per head, £5600 per head! We provide way more than we get back from the UK and we certainly don't moan like the English.

*These figures are all widely available. Have a look through google if you care to educate yourself.

Jamie G said...

Well said that man above!

I'm a Yorkshireman and your post highlights all the multi-billion pound projects that occur in London, not to mention the mass of public galleries, civil servants etc that are located there.

You also missed out on the case when Londoners say that they and their companies pay much more in tax than elsewhere. This stat counts all the tax that Tesco / Sainsburys etc pays as being in London / SE due to being headquartered there. Not to mention the numerous other companies that are based in London, but actually make there money from people outside of London. That includes some of your Whiskey firms too!

Enough of having the wool pulled over our eyes. Fair enough, London needs to be powerful to act on a world stage, but at the expense of the rest of the country; it can't go on.

onevodkamartini said...

Bravo to the anpnymous fello! The sceptics should stick your commentin their pipes and smoke it!

onevodkamartini said...

Victoria Campbell from Glasgow .......Bravo to the anonomous fello! Tell the sceptics to put that in their pipes and smoke it!

Anonymous said...

The sooner the Barnett formula is scrapped the better. If Scotland believes it can sustain independence then it should support the scrapping of the formula as well. The usual lies about how Scotland's oil revenue are dragged out here when the poster misses a few issues. Firstly, if you draw up an international sea border between Scotland and England in accordance with international norms, the whole of the North Sea field does not belong to Scotland. Secondly, the UK is a large net importer of oil.

Claiming that Scotland subsidises the UK is just fud and waffle. The largest provider to the UK economy is financial services in London, if you check the stats you will find that oil production doesn't even make the shortlist of providers to the economy.

David said...

The Barnett formula has to go. Every region of the UK should be treated the same, with the same amount allocated per head of population from central government funds paid to Councils in England and to the Scottish and Welsh administrations. This is the only fair way to operate and anything else will eventually lead to major political problems for the government. Social engineering or attempting to use money from more prosperous areas to benefit poorer regions does not work as the people who miss out are the poor struggling to survive in the more prosperous areas. Labour have already lost Scotland and they are doing their best to lose the rest of the country as well.

Geoff said...

I happen to notice that most of the people here critizing Steve Green's writings are Scottish. I detect, perhaps, that such folk don't want the Barnett Formula to be compromised. Despite the fact that it's only a convention, and an undemocratic convention at that, I'm guessing the Scots still want their free money allocation from the South.

As for 'anonymous' - you can't just simply use some aspect of monetary economics and forget the rest to furnish your arguments. Let's remember that the Barnett Formula was formed a long time before any of this 'defense spending' was even considered. And where exactly did you find statistics for Scotland's GDP that removed figures for the whisky and oil industries? I can't find that kind of data anywhere. Speaking of statistical errors, what the hell are 'Tabloid figures'? How on Earth did you manage to calculate that? Looks to me as if you just decided to list some Scottish and English public projects, claiming that there were SOME statistics, somewhere, that deducted some and added others Geez. You, anonymous, were the one who decided, so self-righteously, to 'talk about doctoring figures'. Well, there you go.

And 'Greenwhich' is spelt 'Greenwich'. Sort your English out before you start raving non-sensically about 'deception' and 'drivel' as to a blog post which is only a couple of hundred words long at best, and simply comments on a quote made on another website.

Just check that out, alright? Citations, citations.

Daily Referendum said...

Cheers Geoff.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of hearing about Scotland and the injustice heaped upon the unfortunate Scots. If I were Scottish I would vote for independance and make my own way. By the way, why isn't their a English Labour Party? Who does speak for England (apart from all the Scots in Westminster)? The devolution question needs to be asked in England too!

Tom said...

Hi, i may only be 16 but i know what i think. I am truly sick of these scots saying that they give more than they take - for goodness sake they use OUR money to pay for THEIR educations. I just can't stand the thought that the Scottish people actually think they could survive as a nation on their own! SCOTLAND NEEDS US - but we dont need them, in fact our government would be doing us a favour if they split from scotland. It really does make me sick that the scots think so highly of themselves. GO ON THEN SCOTLAND, SPLIT FROM US - SEE IF WE CARE!