.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, November 22, 2013

England joins in outcry on Barnett formula

The Western Mail report on the latest twist in the pressure for reform of the Barnett formula and this time it is one that Westminster politicians may not be able to ignore so easily. It appears that English local government have woken up to the fact that the distribution of public money by the Treasury is not carried out on the basis of need, though their proposed outcome may not be what is envisaged here in Wales.

Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association quite correctly asserts that the Barnett Formula has passed its use-by date. He is quoted as saying: "It is an historic relic from a time when the Government stopped people taking more than £50 on a holiday abroad.

“What was only ever intended as a stop-gap solution has now become a major problem which is short-changing English communities and underfunding their public services by £4.1bn a year. We now need a fair and equitable distribution of public money across the union.

“The crisis engulfing adult social care demands a shift to a needs based formula for distributing funding. Our ageing population means that there is an enormous increase in demand for council-run adult social services which must be met to ensure people retain dignity as they get older.

“The Government also has to take action to ensure people can plan with confidence for the financial needs of old age... The move toward greater devolution and tax raising powers for Scotland and Wales means that this costly historical anomaly has to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“It will only become more difficult to fix as the tax regime becomes more complex. The major political parties should all make the introduction of a needs-based formula a cornerstone of their pre-election manifestos.”

Nothing will happen to reform this formula of course until the Scottish Independence referendum is behind us. If we do get some movement then, we should hope that whoever is tasked with that job heeds the word of the Chief Executive of the Welsh Local Government Association:

Steve Thomas, chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), said: “The LGA’s analysis is illustrative of the problems associated with the Barnett formula, which are also massively impacting on Wales. Carwyn Jones recently argued for a complete reform of the formula to a much clearer needs-based approach, and outlined how the first step to be taken should be a revision of the existing formula to tackle the fact that Wales is underfunded by £350m a year.

“This would be a pre-condition to any referendum in Wales on income tax raising powers.

“The WLGA supports this position, and while we understand the frustration in England around the formula we certainly cannot support the idea of decimating Scottish local government expenditure to achieve this, or having the entirety of any redistribution of funding to be spent solely in England on social care.

"While we recognise the sentiments expressed by the LGA, this should not be a ‘beggar thy neighbour’ approach but a proper review of the formula with full participation by the devolved nations.”

It is estimated that Wales will benefit from a needs-based formula to the tune of about £300m more cash each year. Some English regions will also benefit, but I suspect that Scotland and the South East of England will be losers. We cannot be sure until all the numbers are crunched of course, but nobody, least of all the LGA should look on reform as a magic bullet that is going to solve all their problems.
My name is Hugh Hunt, I am English and I have just had a Government e-petition published entitled :-

Get rid of the Barnett Formula which gives un-fair distribution of Government funding within the UK.

Responsible department: Her Majesty's Treasury

The Barnett Formula was devised 35 years ago to enable Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland to receive more funding for their local government services, and has over the years become totally obsolete and un-necessary. This year every Scottish resident will get £10,152 spent on them for public services, compared to just £8,529 for residents of England, £9,709 for the Welsh and £10,876 for those living in Northern Ireland, and these figures are being used to persuade the Scots to vote against independence, which is devious and un-fair to the English. Whether Scotland leaves the Union or stays, the Barnett Formula, which isn’t even enshrined in law, should go now, and the money available for financing local services divided fairly among all the residents of the UK in future. Please make sure your English MP is aware of this petition and get them to sign it.

The link to register your support for the petition is :-

While I live in Bulgaria, I am a life-long English nationalist. I wholeheartedly endorse the present upsurge in objections to the continued use of the Barnett Formula and felt that an e-petition was a good way to bring it to the general public’s attention. With the help of influential politicians such as yourself, it is possible that I can reach the necessary 100,000 signatures in a very short time, bearing in mind the many millions of English and Welsh residents who suffer from its effects. Any help which you can give in encouraging your colleagues to publicise the existence of the petition and encourage people to sign it will be much appreciated, and provided a united message to the Government of the public feeling against its continued use of this obsolete and out-dated system of allocating public funds..

I publish a daily up-dated blog, “News-Hunt, Irreverent Views on the World News” at www.hug-h.com , which is widely read in the UK and by expats around the world, where I have posted articles under the heading “Why do the English continue to put up with being made "the poor men" of the United Kingdom”, parts 1and 2, and which will now be regularly followed up to continue publicising the e-petition, and to up-date on progress, and which I hope you and you colleagues will read and hopefully comment on.

Many thanks in the hope of your support,
Hugh Hunt
23 George Dimitri Street, Malomirovo 8737,
Elhovo, Yambol, Bulgaria.
Telephone number can be supplied if required.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?