Belfast Telegraph

Labour urged to clarify policy on the Barnett formula

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to "come clean" on plans for the Barnett formula after the Welsh First Minister said the party would scrap it.

Carwyn Jones said the party's Welsh manifesto pledges to ditch the formula used by the Treasury to calculate funding given to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Jones told BBC Wales: "It says in the manifesto that there will be a new funding formula based on need.

"That means having a new formula to replace Barnett.

"Nobody can defend a situation where we have a funding formula that is over 38 years old by now, that was based on the way things were in the 70s.

"We need to have a funding formula that is fair to all the nations and regions of the UK."

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said his party had promised to keep the Barnett formula and urged Mr Corbyn to make Labour's position clear.

He said: "This is total chaos.

"The Scottish Labour manifesto is based on the Barnett formula operating, under their plans, spending on policies from arts education to council funding in England is supposed to lead to an increase in the Scottish budget.

"In the past, Kezia Dugdale has actually said that scrapping it would lead to £4 billion in cuts for Scotland.

"Jeremy Corbyn needs to come clean and quick.

"Will Labour keep the Barnett formula?

"If they will, why is Labour in Wales saying they won't?

"And if they won't, why is it used in their manifesto and how much will Scotland lose if they cut it?"

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson said: "This is an astounding admission from one of Labour's most senior figures, which has fatally undermined Kezia Dugdale's attempts to portray Labour as standing up for Scottish interests.

"Even Scottish Labour have acknowledged that the Barnett formula is worth £4 billion to Scotland - and three days out from a General Election, Jeremy Corbyn must make clear how much a Labour government would cut Scotland's budget by.

"Whatever Kezia Dugdale says, a vote for Labour in this election is a vote to put Scotland's budget in jeopardy."

A Labour spokesman said: "Our manifesto costings are based on the Barnett formula and we will not scrap it.

"Over the course of the next parliament, we will consult on long-term reform of how the UK allocates public expenditure to ensure that it reflects the needs of the nations and regions of the UK."


From Belfast Telegraph