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 McCluskey Lord McCluskey Crossbench 3:55 pm, 24th February 2016

At the risk of mixing my metaphors, although they will be well understood by all Members of this House, have we not, for the duration of this Bill, been burying our heads, ostrich-like, in the sand, while turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room? Did we awaken yesterday from our slumber to kick a hornets’ nest into the long grass where we hope that the English will not notice it and the Welsh will be ignored? I shall translate that for those who have not followed this debate. The elephant in the room is, of course, the Barnett formula. The hornets’ nest is also the Barnett formula because if anyone disturbs the Barnett formula, the hornets will fly out. The blind eye is the decision by tame Scottish politicians, supported by the UK Government, to continue Barnett without discussion of its inequities or its notorious unfairness, particularly to Wales. The long grass is the five or six-year period. The question simply is this: will the documents to be published now or in the next five years show clearly the extent to which the rest of the UK is contributing towards this expenditure by the Scottish Government?