For over two years now, this site has been warning that the UK government will take the earliest opportunity it thinks it can possibly get away with to abolish the Barnett Formula, the funding mechanism which the No campaign sold as the biggest benefit of Scotland remaining in the Union.
The Formula is hated almost everywhere else in the UK, by both politicians and the English (especially) public, who see it as an over-generous subsidy to the scrounging Jocks, and with the threat of independence theoretically removed after the referendum there’s very little protecting it.
Neither Labour nor the Tories – with just one Scottish MP each – would have much to lose politically from reducing Scottish funding by billions of pounds they could use to bribe swing voters in England instead. Barnett’s partial survival was the only solid commitment made in The Vow, but it’s set to be slashed by the Scotland Bill, and the smaller it gets the less resistance there will be to its total removal.
This week the House Of Lords made lots of headlines by highlighting the shambolic, half-baked state of the Bill, which hasn’t yet come up with a “fiscal framework” to replace the bulk of Barnett. But make no mistake – the Lords want it gone just as much as everyone else does.
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