Belfast Telegraph

Leader of Commons dismisses concerns over financial impact of English only laws

Claims that the devolved administrations risk losing out on cash under plans to give English MPs the final say on English only laws have been dismissed as an "illusion" by the leader of the Commons.

Chris Grayling said the long-standing belief that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland lose cash when spending is cut in England - a system known as Barnett consequentials - did not actually exist and he challenged MPs to come up with "real examples".

Pledging to push ahead with the divisive English Votes for English Laws (Evel) plans largely unchanged, Mr Grayling told the procedure committee the proposals would go before MPs for debate shortly after they returned to parliament following the party conference season in October.

Senior Tory Sir Edward Leigh suggested the Evel plans would not affect the outcome of legislation and questioned why the government was pursuing the reforms.

Mr Grayling insisted the plan must go ahead to tackle the "mounting degree of resentment" in England.

"If we don't address this it will become more a political running sore," he added.

MPs raised concerns that the plans would mean that they had no ability to vote against new laws relating to England that had spending implications in the rest of the UK as a result of the Barnett formula for allocating money.

Mr Grayling said: "I don't actually believe that Barnett consequentials exist.

"Nobody has yet been able to give me an example of a Bill passed through the House of Commons outside the estimates process that made any immediate significant difference to the Budget position in Scotland.

"So, I think this is an illusion."

Mr Grayling told the committee he would look at the recommendations it came up with but suggested he was unlikely to make any significant change to the plans.

Asked if he was open to the committee's recommendations, he replied: "I don't think you should expect us to tear them up and start again but I'm very happy to listen to the input from this committee and see if there is anything that you suggest that would imply we should make any modifications."


From Belfast Telegraph