Scotland’s Fiscal Framework — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:55 pm on 24th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 3:55 pm, 24th February 2016

My Lords, I thank the Minister for enabling us to have the fiscal framework before we complete consideration of the Bill. To paraphrase Robert Burns, now that the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has been bought and sold with English gold, could my noble friend give an assurance that the same generosity that has been given to Scotland will be applied to England, to the English regions, to Northern Ireland and to Wales? In particular, could he confirm the briefing that was given to the Times by a “Treasury insider” that, had this settlement been in place since 1999, Scotland would have got all the money from Barnett—that is, 20% more per head than in England—plus an additional £6 billion? If so, surely the rest of the United Kingdom is entitled to be treated with similar generosity.

When the Minister says that this is a transitional arrangement for five years that will be subject to agreement, is not another way of putting that there will be a veto on the part of the Scottish Government to prevent any change? Does he really think that this delivers a deal that is fair to all parts of the United Kingdom?