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The Barnett Future

Posted on February 09, 2014 by

We had a rather surprising conversation with Alan Trench of the “Devolution Matters” blog yesterday, and it inspired us to get on with something we’ve been meaning to do for ages anyway: compiling evidence regarding the future of the Barnett Formula for UK public spending should Scotland vote No to independence.

lordbarnett2

Quotes in no particular order. (Click for sources and dates.) More as we find them.

DAVID CAMERON, UK PRIME MINISTER (Con)

“Asked if it was time to get rid of the formula, Mr Cameron says: “This cannot last forever, the time is approaching … If we replace the Barnett Formula with a needs-based formula, Scotland has very great needs and Scotland will get very great resources.’

Asked if, therefore, the formula is coming to the end of the road, he replies: ‘Yes, that’s right.’

ALISTAIR CARMICHAEL, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND (Lib Dem)

We do want to see Barnett scrapped. We want to see that replaced by what we call a needs based formula.”

MARGARET CURRAN, SHADOW SCOTTISH SECRETARY (Lab)

“Margaret Curran, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, said there are a “lot of question marks” about whether devolution has led to the improvements that its supporters claim.

She also indicated her support for abolishing the Barnett formula, which gives Scots almost £1,200 per head more public spending than the UK average, and replacing it with a system based on need.

She said: “I do believe that we should allocate public funding on the basis of need and it should not be around just a regional or a national demarcation around that.”

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS JUSTICE SELECT COMMITTEE

The Barnett Formula is overdue for reform and lacks any basis in equity or logic. It creates controversy in all of the constituent parts of the UK. There is controversy in England that the Barnett Formula allows for higher levels of public spending in Scotland from the UK Exchequer and does not deal with different needs in different parts of England.

We urge the Government to publish its position as a matter of some urgency and to proceed to devise a new formula which is needs based, takes into account regional disparities in England as well as in Scotland and Wales, is transparent and is sufficiently robust to enable long-term planning.”

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION, ENGLAND

“Council leaders in England are to campaign for Scotland’s block grant to be cut. Local government chiefs south of the Border say they are envious of the powers and funding given to a devolved Scotland and have revealed they will push for the UK Treasury to scrap the Barnett formula, the system that gives Scotland more per head of UK funds than it does to England and Wales.

Sir Merrick Cockell, head of the Local Government Association (LGA) in England, has claimed that his counterparts in Scotland are ‘in wide-eyed disbelief’ at the cuts English councils are having to accept, compared to those they are having to implement.”

CONSERVATIVE MPS, VARIOUS

“The renewed debate over Scotland’s place in the Union should trigger a review of its share of taxpayer’s money, Conservative MPs have said.

Gordon Henderson, the MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said uneven public spending was fuelling English resentment at Scotland and undermining the Union the Conservatives are committed to preserving.

‘There is increasing resentment within England about this – there is a feeling that we are treated less favourably,’ he added.

‘The Barnett Formula is well out of date and needs to be scrapped entirely. If we are a United Kingdom – and I hope we remain so – then we should all receive the same level of support from the Government.’

David Mowat, the MP for Warrington South, said: ‘We should be looking at the Barnett Formula now, thinking about moving towards a more needs-based formula.’ he added.

Andrew Selous, the MP for South West Bedfordshire and an aide to Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, highlighted comments from other senior ministers that he said raised doubts about the formula’s future.

Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, said last year that the formula was ‘coming to the end of its useful life’. As a junior Treasury minister, Justine Greening, now the Transport Secretary, also responded sympathetically to calls for reform.

Mr Selous said: ‘I am very encouraged that two Cabinet ministers have gone on the record to say that the Barnett Formula will not be here for ever. This is something that people in England are concerned about.'”

MORE TORY MPS (VARIOUS)

“Almost three-quarters of Tory MPs say that the way public money is distributed around Britain should be reformed. And most believe that the current devolution settlement giving Scotland its own parliament is unfair to England and must change.”

THE ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY TAXATION GROUP

“The APPTG echoes the findings of the House of Lords Committee on the Barnett Formula in recommending that a shift is required towards a ‘needs-based’ formula, whereby a ‘dynamic’ and ‘simple, clear, and comprehensible’ system is used to allocate resources to the devolved regions ‘based on an explicit assessment of their relative needs’, calculated ‘per head of population’.”

RUTH DAVIDSON, LEADER, SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY

“Barnett was only supposed to be temporary… I do think that there will be a review of Barnett after 2014. The ground has shifted since devolution.”

STRUAN STEVENSON, SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE MEP

“The Scottish Conservatives will never have any fertile ground to plough in Scotland as long as we live on a block grant from Westminster. We are the party that can offer efficiency and low tax and a competent government but you can’t do that when you are funded through the Barnett block grant.”

CARWYN JONES, FIRST MINISTER OF WALES (Lab)

“Asked if he could see Barnett reformed without touching the current generous allocation of funds to Scotland, Jones said: ‘It would be difficult to envisage a situation where there would be widespread Barnett reform with an independence referendum pending in Scotland.

The problem has been in years gone by that you can’t address the Barnett Formula unless you address the whole of it. I certainly can’t see it happening before 2014 and the Scottish referendum.‘”

THE SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Recommendation 26: The UK should move to an independent, transparent, needs based formula to serve all parts of the UK well and allow fiscal federalism to be sustained in the long term, recognising that the Barnett Formula was only ever intended to be a temporary measure at the end of the 1970s.”

LORD LANG OF MONKTON (Con)

“On the Barnett surplus, everyone knows that the basis of the present distribution of funds is out of date. We know that that, too, created an imbalance that can be put right. A fair-minded Scotland would agree. We need an up-to-date measurement of relative need in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.” (col. 1365)

THE TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE

“The Barnett Formula has a troubled history and has failed to address the extremely unfair situation of English taxpayers heavily subsiding Scotland. Everyone is struggling to make ends meet, and it is long overdue for the Government to lift this burden from taxpayers’ shoulders. English taxpayers want an end to subsidising Scotland”

THE CALMAN COMMISSION

“The commission, which officially publishes its report on 15 June, has decided major changes need to be made. Instead of the Barnett Formula it wants Scotland to have taxes raised in the country – including income tax, VAT, stamp duty and inheritance tax – assigned directly to the Scottish budget.

Significantly, however, experts believe the change will result in a drop in Scotland’s budget – which could lead to cuts in services. The proposals will be seen by some as evidence the commission was a smokescreen to cut Scotland’s budget.

THE HOLTHAM COMMISSION

“We believe that Barnett must ultimately be superseded by a needs-based formula. No doubt that will need to be accompanied by an adjustment mechanism since the formula may imply substantial changes to block grants and it would be both disruptive and politically difficult to introduce those rapidly.” (Section 3.9)

THE INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH 

“The introduction of a new system would provide a convenient opportunity to do so, but would entail a substantial reduction in the funding allocated to Scotland.

It would be open to the Scottish government to decide whether it wanted to raise more revenue from the tax bases available to it to continue to pay for higher levels of public services, or to reduce spending to match that ‘standard’, need-related, level of spending.” (Section 6.2)

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

“The Barnett Formula, under which Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland receive more public spending per head than England, has long rankled south of the border. Even Joel Barnett, who was chief secretary to the Treasury when the system was introduced in the Seventies as a temporary measure, subsequently disowned it.

 If the Scots vote to remain in the UK, as we hope they do, it cannot be as a result of a bribe from the English. A few years ago, the Calman Commission recommended scrapping Barnett, reducing income taxes in Scotland and then allowing Holyrood to levy its own rate on top, introducing an enhanced element of accountability and fiscal self-governance.

Such reforms should be openly debated ahead of the referendum: for the Scottish people are entitled to know that even if they vote to stay in the UK, the current method of financing public spending should not be allowed to continue.”

 THE UK PUBLIC (via The Sun/YouGov)

“60% of UK taxpayers don’t think it is worth continuing to give Scotland a higher share of state spending than other regions just to keep it in the UK.”

 IAN DAVIDSON MP, CHAIR, SCOTTISH AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE (Lab)

“Glasgow MP Ian Davidson said the Barnett formula that gives Scotland a bigger share of UK government spending would be lost if the party go for full tax powers for the Scottish Parliament.

The Labour chairman of the influential Commons Scottish affairs committee said it ‘would undoubtedly be to Scotland’s detriment’.”

TIM MONTGOMERIE, CONSERVATIVE HOME

“Drawn up more than three decades ago by now Lord Barnett the formula distributes taxpayers’ money across the UK. Even Lord Barnett now describes the formula as ‘unfair’. On both the Left (IPPR) and Right (TaxPayers’ Alliance) there is agreement that the formula is well past its sell-by date.

Scotland and Northern Ireland receive a much greater share of UK taxpayers’ money than need in either country would require. The biggest losers are the poorer English regions and Wales. There has long been a campaign in Cardiff for Barnett’s reform.

This seems one of the great no-brainers of British politics. England is losing up to £4.5 billion every year because a Conservative-led government is sending that money to parts of the UK that stubbornly refuse to vote Conservative AND there is widespread agreement that the system isn’t driven by social need.”

LORD JOEL BARNETT, DEVISOR OF THE BARNETT FORMULA

“The Labour peer who invented the system by which billions of pounds of English taxpayers’ money is diverted to Scotland said the system should be scrapped because it is unfair.

In an interview with GMTV, to be broadcast tomorrow, Lord Barnett said the system should be replaced with a formula reflecting the needs of each region, whether they are in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

He said: ‘It’s quite wrong. It clearly should not be based on per head expenditure but should be based on needs in particular areas. The amount of money going to Scotland on a needs basis by comparison, say with my own North West or the North East, is far higher than it should be, so it should be changed.

He added: ‘They’d lose quite a bit in my guess, done on a proper needs basis. They paid for the whole of the enormous cost of that new parliamentary building, they paid for it without having to raise an extra penny.’

Lord Barnett’s reverse will cause anger in England, where opinion is mobilising against the Scots.”

In the interests of fairness we’d balance these quotes with counterpoints, but it’s somewhat more difficult to find a voice prepared to speak out in favour of continuing the Barnett Formula than it is to find a chorus calling for its abolition. The only vague commitments made to it have been carefully weasel-worded statements that it will carry on for the rest of the lifetime of the current government, ie around 15 months.

Indeed, the only person who we’ve ever managed to pin down making an unequivocal assertion that Barnett will survive for longer than that (“for 30, 40 more years”) is the “Better Together” campaign director Blair McDougall, which is just about as close to a cast-iron guarantee that it won’t as you can get.

If you find any others, do let us know.

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    138 to “The Barnett Future”

    1. Voting Yes will remove it.

    2. yerkitbreeks says:

      Spot on – well researched

    3. CyberNat Anon Sailor says:

      Priti Patel also called for an end to Barnett.

    4. gordoz says:

      As the undecided voters will no doubt say – (according to press)

      “Im still not clear on this. What evidence is there to suggest Westminster intends to scrap the Barnett Formula ?”

      “We need answers to help us make up our minds”.

      Stu – can’t you get some real firm evidence & quotes …
      Doohhh !

    5. Marcia says:

      We know WM want to scrap it asap.

      When I meet a potential no voter who seems to think we are subsidised I plant a simple thought in their head. If we are been subsidised why are they fighting teeth and nail for us to remain?

    6. Annibale says:

      The only way to do away with Barnett and increase spending in Scotland is to vote YES!

    7. tartanfever says:

      Rev,

      another one here:

      http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/barnett-replacement-working-paper-sent-1937555

      “A COPY of a working paper on a new needs-based devolved funding model for the UK has been sent to Shadow Chancellor George Osborne.

      The paper, published last year, was compiled by the Independent Commission for Funding and Finance in Wales (the Holtham Commission), chaired by financier and economist Gerry Holtham.’

      ‘Their needs-based working paper concluded that Wales would gain around £400m from a new model that took into account factors such as deprivation and the cost of delivering public services.

      In Scotland Barnett is more generous than in Wales, with a £120 per head ratio settlement to the English average of £100, while in Northern Ireland it is £124.

      The commission’s working paper – Replacing Barnett With a Needs-based Formula – concluded Scotland should in fact only receive £105 per head. If implemented this would result in its current annual budget of £28bn being cut by £3bn.’

    8. Murray McCallum says:

      People who vote ‘No’ in the referendum will witness the true love from Westminster.

      Trouble is, its more hate than love in our dysfunctional UK family relationship.

    9. JLT says:

      Brilliant, Rev.

      Straight into my portfolio for future use. Not a lot of folk can answer back by saying, ‘But voting ‘No’ means nothing will change, and that everything will remain the same as it is the now.’

      No, it BLOODY well will not!!!! Read this for God’s sakes!!!

      Cheers, Rev.

    10. To stop us from decoding these unsubtle clues, Project Fear is now saying we will be banned from speaking English.

      Look what you have done to us with all your ‘analysis’, Stu! This is all your doing.

      http://www.bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/index.php/city-news/659-scots-could-be-banned-from-speaking-english-warns-academic.html

    11. Ghengis D'Midgies says:

      It’s our own money they so grudgingly send back to us. Scotland more than pays her way and we vehemently object to being accused of being subsidised by commentator after commentator in British politics and in the media. What a poisonous UK.

    12. Teechur says:

      Link this with Westminster’s treatment of Scottish farmers who had €230million specifically allocated but redistributed across the whole UK, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s minds that the loss of the Barnett formula will be a disaster for Scotland.

      We need to make everyone in Scotland aware of this. Forget #projectfear’s imaginary scare stories, this one is real and approaching like a speeding bullet.

    13. Teechur says:

      Westminster’s notion of need is self-evidently those areas of the UK who will vote whichever party is in power back into power.

    14. themadmurph says:

      So we will lose the £1200pp/annum (over £6bn) and that’s before you factor in any share of the £25Bn cuts Osborne has planned.

      We will continue to get a population share of the debt, despite it being spent elsewhere.

      That’s before we even consider any potential WM backlash for having the temerity to think about leaving in the first place.

      Better just vote YES and get it over with!

    15. DougtheDug says:

      How about this from the Lib-Dems report, “Federalism: the best future for Scotland”, published October 2012.

      Recommendation 26: The UK should move to an independent, transparent, needs based formula to serve all parts of the UK well and allow fiscal federalism to be sustained in the long term, recognising that the Barnett Formula was only ever intended to be a temporary measure at the end of the 1970s.

      An even more interesting quote is this one from the “Funding Devo More” IPPR report authored by our very own Alan Trench where he writes about moving to a needs based grant rather than the current Barnett formula method.

      In subsequent years, the grant would be calculated on a rolling average of fiscal capacity in relation to the grant baseline of (say) three years. In the case of Scotland, given the disparity between its present level of finance and what a needs assessment would justify, using that level of spending as a baseline, there would need to be a cushioning mechanism to manage the adjustment over a number of years. It would be open to the Scottish government to decide whether it wanted to raise more revenue from the tax bases available to it to continue to pay for higher levels of public services, or to reduce spending to match that ‘standard’, need-related, level of spending.

    16. uilleam_beag says:

      It’s pretty clear that it won’t survive long after a no vote. Even if there were no referendum taking place it’s hard to see that the Calman tax reforms would be fully implemented in 2016 without a significant review of the formula almost immediately thereafter.

    17. Tinyzeitgeist says:

      Barnet has to be scrapped after all they need more of our money for London subways, sewers, airports oh and a £2 billion pound upgrade of Westminster. Then there is Trident the ideal phallic symbol for those impotent lib/lab/tory gentlemen who can’t get it up without it.

      If this gets you all excited then by all means vote NO!

    18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “How about this from the Lib-Dems report…”

      Great finds, added in.

    19. Vlad (not that one) says:

      To date all UK governments had to take into account the risk that Scotland might opt for independence if pushed too far.

      A win for the Noes would remove that consideration and ensure that in the future Scotland’s interests could be summarily brushed aside by London governments.

      There is no cosy status quo on offer.

    20. Ken500 says:

      Get rid of Barnett and be better off. Spend on priorities not Trident, redundant weapons and tax evasion in the City of London etc.

      Vote Yes

    21. Marker Post says:

      Also on Conservative Home, Would It Really Be So Bad If Scotland Left The Union? Mark Wallace, November 2013:

      “Thanks to the Barnett Formula, each Scot now enjoys an average of £1623 more taxpayers’ money than their English counterparts… Taxpayer-funded bribery is a rather poor reason to maintain the Union – though it may be a compelling one for Scottish voters”.

      “The SNP hate to engage on the issue because they refuse to accept that Scotland is effectively subsidised by English taxpayers”.

      http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2013/11/would-it-really-be-so-bad-if-scotland-left-the-union.html

    22. DougtheDug says:

      How about the report in November 2013 from the “All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group” entitled, “Achieving Autonomy, What the independence referendum means for Scotland’s fiscal future, ‘Scotland’s Fiscal Future’ series: First Report”.

      Recommendation 11.14.
      In the case of a ‘No’ vote, the Barnett Formula must be replaced as a priority, with a needs-based formula for inter-regional resource allocation the best alternative, using the seven indicators of relative need identified by the Holtham Commission (§§5.26, 6.84).

      Members of the Group:

      Chairman Ian Liddell-Grainger MP Con
      Vice-Chairman Kelvin Hopkins Lab
      Treasurer Lord Rees-Mogg CB
      Secretary Karen Bradley Con

      Steven Baker (Con)
      David Mowat (Con)
      Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con)
      Lord Howe of Aberavon (Con)
      Gordon Henderson (Con)
      Amber Rudd (Con)
      Michael Moore (LD)
      Lord Newby (LD)
      Lord Filkin (Lab)
      Lord McKenzie of Luton (Lab)
      Sian C. James (Lab)
      Kevan Jones (Lab)
      Lord Haskel (Lab)
      Paul Flynn (Lab)
      Sir Alan Meale (Lab)
      Teresa Pearce (Lab)

    23. Clootie says:

      We contribute more per head than the rest of the UK.

      We have a raft of issues that increase costs – distributed rural communities / a significant number of islands / a poorer infrastructure on roads, rail and flight / a more difficult weather, temperature and winter lighting cycle / I’m sure I could fill several pages but you get the point.

      We already get much less than we put in and now we will be better together by having even less money?

      When they said we will share the risk and reward I didn’t think they meant we get the risk and they get the reward.

    24. Excellent work, Stuart. Of course, the oft-quoted £1,200pp higher public spend in Scotland through the Barnett Formula takes account only of those areas which directly benefit the people. It takes no account whatsoever of the huge benefits that accrue to SE England from:

      Housing Central Govt,

      The majority of Defence expenditure (@ 2Bn deficit in Scotland),

      The great majority of Govt Contractors, and

      The huge benefit of being the only capital ‘honeypot’ in the territory of the UK.

      Decentralisation has always been a sham in the UK. I am minded of laughable early decentralisation attempts such as in the early 1980s when officers in MOD London posted draft letters up to the Typing Pool in Kentigern House in Glasgow to be typed.

    25. Marker Post says:

      A bit of a typo on the Banff and Buchan Lib Dem website 🙂

      “Commenting on the letter sent from the Prime Minister to First Willie Rennie…”

      The First Willie Rennie, goes on:

      “The nationalists are now resorting to scare tactics in attempt to win votes for their independence plans. This letter makes clear that it is Alex Salmond and Alex Salmond alone who is trying to put about the heebie-jeebies over the future of Scotland’s funding formula within the UK. But just like the bogey man who was supposed to hide in your cupboard most grown-ups realise that this is nothing more than scaremongering”.

      http://banffandbuchanlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2013/755147/snp-resort-to-scare-tactics-over-future-of-barnett-formula

    26. msean says:

      They’ll scrap it all right,and when they’ve squeezed all they can from the easy targets,they’ll probably start on the state pension again,then the NHS in Scotland will be brought into line with England,with all that that entails,then …

      It is an ever widening circle of cuts and reductions by unelected,(by us in Scotland),unrepresentative,distant and uncaring Westminster government in which all the main parties will have colluded in to make you poorer.Some parties need poverty to get power,some want poverty to enrich themselves. Only a yes vote can avoid this.

    27. Paul says:

      When they say needs based they mean every area fighting with each other to get the most and there must be a cut off point where a area doesn’t require it so would that prove to be a disincentive for a area not to do better we no that is the Labour way hence all these areas like Glasgow voting Labour at every level for over half a century and still living in hovels with a reduced life expectancy but for the Tories to admit to it?

    28. heedtracker says:

      Here in Aberdeen with our ever weirder unionist Labour cooncil and desperate ranting vote NO Press and Journal, the complete and utter silence coming from our Westminster Labour MP’s such Anne Begg is deafening, not just on Barnett but on anything at all to do with Scotland post referendum.

      Anne Begg MP is noteworthy up here if only because she does seem to get a lot of BetterTogetherBBC etc national air time on all kinds of stuff, except Scots democracy, Barnett etc. Spooky.

    29. theycan'tbeserious says:

      Is there a simplistic explanation of the Barnett formula available to be printed in leaflet form. This could be handy as a lot of people out there may be unaware of how Scotland is funded. This along with information on what we do pay in taxation and what we get in return by way of the Barnett formula, then include our share of oil. Then compare this to the potential or imminent loss of the BF and its impact on Scotland’s spending ability.

      The fact that we already pay more than our fare share, the fact that our natural resources are being squandered to the detriment of Scotland and then further cuts and what undoubted effects they will have on future public spending. Such an explanation in brochure form would be quite positive for a Yes vote.

    30. velofello says:

      A different approach would be to address the “needs” issues and move to equalise needs throughout the UK.

      Instance, why do workers in London need a earnings weighting allowance that much enhances their income over other regions? And why is it necessary to provide housing subsidies in London?

      Now if there was a wholesale movement of civil services and government functions out of London to other areas of the UK that may well much reduce London’s “needs” and by providing employment elsewhere reduce the “needs” of other regions of the UK.

      Alas the BBC have tried that by moving some functions to Manchester and has resulted in a massive bill for personnel – incurred travel and hotel expenses as they travel from , yes London.

      The solution proposed here will never happen. London “needs” will continue unchecked. Scotland’s block grant will be, to use a word currently in fashion, be diminished following a No vote. Only the extremely wealthy in Scotland will experience little loss following a NO vote, the professional and working classes will both suffer. My experience is that the professional classes are well aware of the threat.

    31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “How about the report in November 2013 from the “All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group””

      Also added, splendid work.

      I’ve also uploaded all these documents and others to the Repository.

    32. Seanair says:

      Sorry for O/Ts but I’m beeling about 2 things in today’s media.

      1. Letter in Sunday Herald from some idiot called Beth Boylen who states “It is Alex Salmond alone who wanted this referendum….”
      2. SKY and BBC TV giving great publicity to Charles and Wiiliam on their current hobby-horse. Is it the explosion of foodbanks, the iniquitous bedroom tax or all the other austerity measures? No it’s about fxxxxxg elephants! Haud me back!

    33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev, another one here:”

      Nice one. Have added the report of the Holtham Commission.

    34. Onwards says:

      Surely a new ‘needs based formula’ is going to be skewed in favour of areas with the biggest population growth?

      What are the chances that will continue to be the south of England?

      At the moment the Barnett formula acts as a poor substitute for oil revenues.
      This is just a way of preparing to screw Scotland once the oil eventually declines.

    35. ian foulds says:

      Good point – ‘they can’t be serious’

    36. Bob says:

      Tory MP Priti Patel sparks backlash after claiming independence debate is great opportunity to slash spending in Scotland
      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/tory-mp-priti-patel-sparks-1471711

    37. X_Sticks says:

      Sorry, O/T

      What do you all make of this:

      Dear Supporter

      As you may know already, the March & Rally for Scottish Independence made the decision not to hold a 2014 event before this September’s Referendum. We arrived at this decision after much consideration and discussion both internally and externally with others.

      I believe the the focus for this year has got to be on persuading the many undecided voters all over Scotland, crucially in their own communities through one-on-one discussion, of the merits for voting YES.

      Any event which may take place weeks before the referendum could serve to distract from the efforts of those canvassing allover Scotland and is to my mind a mistake.
      YES Scotland has already said it believes efforts should be directed not through a mass March & Rally but smaller events and crucially door knocking and meeting people on the streets in their own communities.

      Also, as we all know, the media will seek to portray even the biggest pro-Independence event as a failure and we should be mindful of that in the closing few weeks before we all cast our vote.

      Finally, we do not wish to portray any event so close to the 18th September as a victory. Should we all wake up on the 19th September as part of an Independent Scotland please be assured that we will play our part in creating the biggest celebration that Scotland has seen for some time. Those of you who remember Neil Kinnock’s famous Sheffield Rally may cringe but it serves as a timely reminder.

      As always thank you for your support in both 2012 and 2013 and I would urge everyone to use YES Scotland website to get involved at a local level.

      Jeff Duncan
      Organiser – March & Rally for Scottish Independence – 2012/2013

      I wouldn’t have thought a rally would have taken much out of the campaign. Is there something else to this. Worry about trouble or the Kinnock factor? Anyone with more info?

    38. jingly jangly says:

      X_Sticks
      Where have you been? it old news,it was debated here a couple of weeks ago!!!!

    39. Jamie Arriere says:

      I did a seminar in my student past on the Barnett Formula and I found this essay very useful at the time. It gives the history of spending allocations going back to the Goschen formula, and an academic analysis of why Barnett wasn’t working then.

      http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/politics/papers/2002/w10/fiscalcrisis.pdf

    40. Alan Trench says:

      I think you’re a little disingenuous in not giving dates and references to the various quotes you’ve picked up. The fact is that none of the Unionist parties currently support reform of Barnett. Labour made this clear in their Devolution Commission’s interim report of April 2013, as did the Lib Dems in the Campbell Home Rule and Community Rule Commission. Official UK Government policy is and remains that no Barnett reform can be considered until the public finances are stablised – which one suspects may take longer than just this Parliament. Many of Welsh Labour’s criticisms of the proposals for partial income tax devolution there – which are those enacted for Scotland in the Scotland Act 2012 – would vanish if there were a reform of Barnett, or even a lesser measure like a ‘Barnett floor’ to prevent future convergence.

      My own view is – and remains – that Barnett needs replaced, and that replacement is part of making sure a devolved UK works effectively. (Don’t treat that as a scoop; I’ve said it many times before.) Done properly, the effect on Scotland would be limited – it would have to be phased in over a number of years, for example. But I have to admit to having had very little success in persuading politicians of that case.

    41. Sandra says:

      Can someone help explain in laymen terms

      I am reading an article called

      Has Scotland Already Spent Its Oil Fund?

      I have read that due to the barnet formula we have in fact received back 95% of out revenue over the last 32 years

      which isn’t 100%

      However I also noticed from the graph – that at the start we had a few years of generating lots more tax than we spent

      Does that mean we got the interest on the investment of that money?

      in the article he states

      So, it could be argued that the large oil revenues in the 1980s generated a surplus. This was banked with the UK Treasury building up an oil fund that was then drawn on subsequently to meet Scotland’s needs.

      As far as I am aware there never was any oil fund set up

      I also find it strange that if we had all that money sitting in the 1980’s why do we pay interest on loans

      I believe over the 32 odd years we have paid £64.1 billion on loans to service “our share” of national debit

      Why did we need loans when we had this “so called” oil fund? – why didn’t we just borrow from that and save the interest?

      Am I getting it? Financials are more than confusing to the layman

    42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think you’re a little disingenuous in not giving dates and references to the various quotes you’ve picked up”

      The vast bulk are from the last 2-3 years, and of course all the links provided show the dates. I think the oldest one only goes back five years, which is hardly ancient history.

      “The fact is that none of the Unionist parties currently support reform of Barnett.”

      No, the fact is that none of them are prepared to admit it openly and unambiguously, because it would be referendum suicide – polls suggest it might give Yes an extra 10 points overnight.

      (Although the Scottish Lib Dems’ recommendation from 2012 – “The UK should move to an independent, transparent, needs based formula to serve all parts of the UK well and allow fiscal federalism to be sustained in the long term, recognising that the Barnett Formula was only ever intended to be a temporary measure at the end of the 1970s” – seems pretty clear.)

      The comments of the likes of Margaret Curran – from as recently as late 2013 – are hard to misinterpret, as is Labour’s constant mantra of “pooling and sharing resources” and “equalising” revenue in recent months.

      Scotland currently gets more spending than most of the rest of the UK. If that’s pooled, shared and equalised, it inescapably means less for Scotland and more for elsewhere – the quotes in the article show that to be a widespread belief across all parties and beyond, not just mine. Basically Scotland and London would be bailing everywhere else out.

      I was disappointed you didn’t respond to this yesterday:

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/joining-the-dots/

      I’d have been curious to see which parts you disputed.

      “My own view is – and remains – that Barnett needs replaced”

      On that, at least, we agree. 😀

    43. tartanfever says:

      Alan says:

      ‘The fact is that none of the Unionist parties currently support reform of Barnett.’

      I wonder why that is Alan ? What do you think would happen if Labour suddenly revealed that they were going to fiddle with Barnett ?

      Yes, that’s right, more people will decide to vote Yes.

    44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can someone help explain in laymen terms
      I am reading an article called
      Has Scotland Already Spent Its Oil Fund?”

      Yes, that article is addressed in detail here:

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/massive-oil-leak-discovered/

    45. HulloHulot says:

      Ian Lang , as Hansard can attest

      Column 1365:

      On the Barnett surplus, everyone knows that the basis of the present distribution of funds is out of date. We know that that, too, created an imbalance that can be put right. A fair-minded Scotland would agree. We need an up-to-date measurement of relative need in Scotland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

      The United Kingdom will never settle down again, comfortable in its own skin, unless these anomalies are ironed out. They need to be addressed in a positive and broadminded way. We need to look at them not from the point of view of the outstretched hands of devolved Administrations but from the point of view of the United Kingdom as a whole, and in its overall interests

      Many people focussed on Lang’s use of the war dead in his argument, but the rest of it

      There was also this: in column 1364:

      There seems to be an extraordinary mood among many in the Scottish political parties who oppose separation, who believe that they can simply agree on a shopping list of further powers for their Parliament and that such powers will be granted as of right. Scotland is going to have to abandon this mood and, I say gently, get real

    46. scaredy cat. says:

      @X Sticks
      Funny thing is I saw two events being promoted on facebook last week, one in Dundee and one in Glasgow. There is a fundraiser for the Glasgow Green rally (it’s going to be in September).
      Don’t know what to make of it.

    47. heedtracker says:

      “Official UK Government policy is and remains that no Barnett reform can be considered until the public finances are stablised – which one suspects may take longer than just this Parliament” doesn’t mean anything though.

      In laymans terms, taxes have been cut for the rich, tuition fees, Scots military spend slashed, ATOS for the poorest and most vulnerable but UK national debt rising, deficit increasing year on year, etc. Maybe UK finances “stabilised” simply means inflation will bring giant debt under control, with any growth stemmed from consumer borrowing, again. Have they given up on QE too?

    48. Andy-B says:

      There seems to be an overwhelming consensus between the unionist parties that the Barnett Formula one way or another will either be greatly reduced or, completely scrapped. The unionist parties may offer Scotland some, minor form of tax raising powers, to offset the balance. Hopefully the Scottish Government, and above all the Scottish public are clued up enough to see through this charade.

      O/T John Swinney is heading to Norway, in a visit that coincides with Norway’s 200th anniversary of independence from Denmark. Mr Swinney says that Scotland has been recognised as the best place in the world, to start a social enterprise, which he’s calling the Scottish Model, I like the sound of that, “The Scottish Model.

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-john-swinney-hails-norway-1-3300038

    49. Les Wilson says:

      Those who are aware as those in these comments, and on many other sites will know what the Barnnet Formula is, and what the present dangers are. This article makes the threat to Scotland’s finances guaranteed after a no vote obvious.

      Problem is, the greater public have little knowledge or perhaps cannot take in what the formula is never mind how it actually works. That is a danger to our aspirations. Some will have heard of it, some will not have a clue what it means, some just will not even be bothered about it,as it requires thinking about.

      That in truth is the problem of communication that we face in the over all population.Throw in all the MSM spin, it is not difficult to see how big an issue it is.

      In the above, would not the statements of Gordon Brown,and others emphasising “sharing our wealth” be a veiled end to Barnnet ? and should be added to your list?

    50. X_Sticks says:

      @ jingly jangly

      Yes JJ, but this is about the rally that is being organised in Glasgow Green, not just the fact that the independencerally people who organised last year rally decided not to have on this year.

      Tjenny posted yesterday this:

      Apparently there will be no march and rally for indy this year but there is to be a ‘Grass Roots on the Green’ national rally at Glasgow Green, if they can raise the funds. Looking to initially raise £10k of a 2 part fundraiser. See link

      http://t.co/f6PEZHyivy

      Then today I received the email above – hence the questions.

    51. Paul says:

      O/T the balloon that is threatening to move his agency business out if we vote yes can be emailed just Google, the Orion group I just did and left him in no uncertain terms just what I thought of him. Do you know they even have some bull up on his site about how they have a social responsibility I told him he can take that moaning face bra maker Mone with him we he goes.

    52. DougtheDug says:

      Alan, you said:

      The fact is that none of the Unionist parties currently support reform of Barnett. Labour made this clear in their Devolution Commission’s interim report of April 2013, as did the Lib Dems in the Campbell Home Rule and Community Rule Commission.

      Here’s what it says about Barnett in the Lib-dems report:

      “Federalism: the best future for Scotland, The report of the Home Rule and Community Rule Commission of the Scottish Liberal Democrats”

      None of these quotes say to me that the Lib-Dems don’t support reform of Barnett.

      The report accepts that the Barnett Formula would continue to operate until a new formula is agreed.

      128. The balancing payment could, of course, continue to be paid under the existing Barnett formula. This is already happening in response to the tax changes under the Scotland Act 2012 and would allow time for a transition period to be agreed across the UK in the move to a new formula.

      131. The Liberal Democrats have long believed that the Barnett Formula should be replaced by a genuine needs-based assessment.

      Recommendation 26: The UK should move to an independent, transparent, needs based formula to serve all parts of the UK well and allow fiscal federalism to be sustained in the long term, recognising that the Barnett Formula was only ever intended to be a temporary measure at the end of the 1970s.

    53. @Alan Trench

      My own view is – and remains – that Barnett needs replaced, and that replacement is part of making sure a devolved UK works effectively. (Don’t treat that as a scoop; I’ve said it many times before.) Done properly, the effect on Scotland would be limited

      What like GERS stitch-up?

      http://calumcashley.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/economic-case-case-against-gers.html

      I think Ian Lang must still be chuckling about his cunning plan, conceived in 1992 while he was Scottish Secretary. Not only did the numbers, maladjusted as they were before the recent review, create confusion, it fed the conceit that Scotland might not be paying its way in the world. It was a political exercise in undermining, as he wrote to his Prime Minister and Chancellor;

      “The booklet I have had prepared and printed, setting out the details of the Government’s expenditure and revenue in Scotland, I judge that it is just what is needed at present in our campaign to maintain our initiative and undermine the other parties.”

      The Scots have been lied to as far back as 1707 by Westminster never again.

    54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ian Lang”

      Nice, added.

    55. Andy-B says:

      How naive can Anas Sarwar get, here he says he’s a firm believer in the Barnett Formula, and adds “I don’t want anything to undermine it”. SLAB are about to explode from the inside, and the Westminster parties have already heavily hinted that the Barnett Formula, will be reduced or changed one way or another. Yet Mr Sarwar can’t see the hammer blow thats coming to the Barnett Formula, if we vote no.

      Either Mr Sarwar’s naive or he’s lying or worst of all, he’ll say just about anything to convince Scots to vote no.

      http://www.sundaypost.com/news-views/politics/sarwar-turns-the-clock-back-to-stop-labour-civil-war-1.211767

    56. DougtheDug says:

      Alan, you said:

      The fact is that none of the Unionist parties currently support reform of Barnett. Labour made this clear in their Devolution Commission’s interim report of April 2013, as did the Lib Dems in the Campbell Home Rule and Community Rule Commission.

      The Labour party in Scotland’s interim report in April 2013 certainly did recommend keeping Barnett but that interim report was not endorsed by the Labour party and there is no guarantee that recommendation will be in the final report which will be unveiled in March. A region of Labour forming a commission and producing a recommendation in an interim report binds the Labour party to nothing.

      The fact that the draft final version is already under fire from Labour’s own MP’s makes it unlikely that keeping Barnett will survive as a recommendation.

      Even if it does survive into the report it is not Labour policy and it will only become Labour policy if the Labour party as a whole decides to accept the recommendation of their Scottish branch. Since many of the members of the Labour party already consider Scotland gets too much via Barnett that is also unlikely.

    57. Elizabeth says:

      ‘The Local Government Association is working on a new model’
      The Barnett formula is based on population breakdown rather than need. Because spending in Scotland was proportionally higher per person in 1979 the formula has cemented in place an anomaly in which the distribution of public funding per person by Whitehall departments remains significantly higher in Scotland and Northern Ireland than it is in England.

      In his autumn statement the chancellor confirmed that devolved nations will automatically receive budget increases as a result of other measures announced in the statement, further underlining the need for an overhaul of the outdated and unfair Barnett formula.

      We now need a fair and equitable distribution of public money across the UK, which ensures that English and Welsh local authorities get a fair deal too. It cannot be right that people in England are losing out to the tune of £2,000 per head in compared to those living in other parts of the UK.

      We in local government believe the question is not when Barnett will be replaced, but what will replace it. The Local Government Association is working on alternative funding proposals which we will publish this summer. In the meantime we are calling for all major political parties to make the introduction of a fairer alternative to the Barnett Formula a cornerstone of their pre-election manifestos.

      Sharon Taylor is chair of the Local Government Association’s finance panel.

      http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2014/jan/08/allocation-funding-local-authorities-barnett-formula

    58. Jim says:

      Alan trench claims:

      “I think you’re a little disingenuous in not giving dates and references to the various quotes you’ve picked up.”

      Actually Alan, if you click each and every one of those quotes, you will see the source and the dates given. That’s what I did.

    59. jingly jangly says:

      X_Sticks
      The email you posted is identical to the one which was posted cancelling the Rally in August, that is why I said we discussed it, the one in Glasgow Green I know nothing about apart from what I read on wos yesterday.

    60. Sandra says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell

      Thank you for the link – I will go learn and spread my wings of knowledge to every Scotsman I can

      Thanks you all for this amazing site

      I wonder what it would cost to have a printed edition of this information distributed to every man woman and child in Scotland

      I am sure you would have lots of people willing to do a free delivery round – sign me up

    61. alexicon says:

      @Alan Trench.

      Why do we need a system that makes us look like we’re beholding to Westminster at all?
      Better voting YES and get rid of it all together.

    62. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      There is a false premise that the systems in place and the figures presented represent a fair and accurate account of overall Government spending across the UK. Thisis most certainly not the case.

      I have little doubt that there is wide recorded variation of per capita spending in different areas across the UK but the “identifiable public expenditure ” is focused largely on social spending which of course costs more per head for geographic reasons in Scotland.

      It takes no account whatsoever of huge amounts of Government spending in what is described as “national” expenditure which hugely benefits the south of England.

      To a very large extent the current debate on spending variation as is contained in Elizabeth’s piece is entirely bogus. It paints only about 70% of the whole expenditure picture. If so called national spending was recorded against the areas which benefit most from it it would show the south of England as having the highest per capita spending in UK by a long way.

      Channel tunnel anybody? Olympic Stadium anyone? 65% of the vast defence procurement budget in the south of England and less than half our population share in Scotland anyone? I could go on all night.

    63. Capn Andy. says:

      ‘Needs based formula’?

      Scotlands money = Londons needs.

    64. The tears of anger from the Tories over the Barnett formula are always quite priceless. They always seem to forget that outside of the Barnett formula, London gets far more than its “fair” share of funding per person. Almost as much as Scotland does(London’s 114% to Scotland’s 117%). You don’t see the same Tories crying about that though. God forbid they anger their City masters.

    65. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @JLT says:
      Flower of Scotland
      Mate, use it! Personally, my comment belongs to us all, for that is what we are all thinking.
      Thanks for the comments, guys.

      JLT … I have made up a word-for-word PDF and put it here:-

      http://www.scotgov.com/pdf/2014/It_has_to_be_YES.pdf

      Let me know if you (or anybody else) thinks any changes are needed.

      The PDF can be printed or emailed (as an attachment) to people (the embedded links to Wings etc, should work).

      I have also put this post on the “Blood sacrifice” thread.

    66. Marian says:

      Get Tory millionaires to bankroll Labour cannon fodder to create and run “Project Fear” propaganda unit together with willing little helpers from biased BBC and London owned newspapers, in order to deceive, threaten and intimidate gullible Scots into voting NO then afterwards punish whole of Scotland by taking back all devolved powers to Westminster so that Scotland’s NHS, Water, Schools, and Universities can be privatised, and finally abolish Barnett Formula to cripple Scotland financially forever. Oh and legislate to prevent any future referendums.

      Sounds like it to me.

    67. Ian Grant says:

      We “donate” our oil revenues to London, for which we receive partial compensation through the Barnett formula. If we vote NO, we continue to give our oil revenues to London, and we lose our partial compensation. £4 billion black hole. Tax raising powers for the Scottish Government without access to our oil revenues is robbery . Also, a needs based funding system will perpetuate a “subsidy” culture. If we are successful in Scotland and generate more income, we’ll be punished by having our needs-based funding cut. A YES vote is the only escape from this disastrous scenario.

    68. muttley79 says:

      Quote from Michael Forsyth:

      “It will clearly be untenable for Scotland to continue to receive more expenditure per head while implementing policies such as having free tuition fees for Scottish students when English students have to pay…and having free care for the elderly north of the Border. I accept that the Scottish Parliament is entitled to take these decisions, but it has to do so in the context of a funding system that is seen to be fair to all parts of the United Kingdom.” 4 July 2007, House of Ermine.

      Quote from Lord Sewel:

      “the Union is founded on solidarity which means that the resources of the entire nation are available to sustain and support any part of the Union that experiences hardship and disadvantage. The more prosperous assist the less prosperous. A fragmented territorial approach would simply condemn disadvantaged areas to become more disadvantaged, while tax-rich areas would be in the selfishly advantageous position of retaining all their tax revenue.” Also 2007.

    69. Paula Rose says:

      @ Calgacus – what’s ‘bu***er’?

    70. Marian says:

      These are the economic hard facts that prove we can afford an independent Scotland:-

      Scotland has a GDP (National Income) per head of £28,000, compared to a UK average£24,000. (That makes Scotland the 8th richest country in the World, with the UK at number 17).

      Even completely excluding Oil and Gas revenues Scotland has a GDP per head at 99% of the UK average.

      Tax income per head in Scotland = £10,700, compared to a UK average of £9,000 (This includes all taxes income tax, corporation tax etc). This isn’t a one-off; Scotland has generated more tax per head than the UK average in every one of the past 30 years.

      Scotland spent 14.4% of its GDP on social protection (welfare and pensions) compared to 15.9% for the UK.

      Scotland’s deficit is 5% of its GDP, compared to 7.9% for the UK. (So our ‘national overdraft’ if you like would be far smaller under Independence than it is as part of the UK).

      Scotland generates 9.9% of UK taxes and incurs 9.3% of UK spending.

      Were Scotland to receive the same 9.9 % of UK spending that it generates in tax (as it will when Independent) then that would represent an additional £4.4bn annually for Scotland, or more than £800 per person.

    71. Flower of Scotland says:

      Great comments here today folks !
      O/t. On Janice Forsythe show just now , she had two guest artists one from Yes and one from No . The No artist was someone called Sara Sheridan and after being asked if she was worried about after a No vote , especially for Artists ,she calmly said that she wasn’t worried because of coarse there would be DEVO MAX if there was a NO vote !!!
      Who are these people that they are allowed to peddle out all these LIES !
      The EBC allows it of coarse ,

    72. Doug Daniel says:

      I don’t see how a “needs-based” formula could ever work. Who determines “need”? Is it the Scottish Government, who can say “well we ‘need’ X amount of money to fund these things that we’ve decided people need”‘ or is it Westminster, who say “well we’ve decided you only ‘need’ Y amount of money”?

      I think we all know the answer to that one, but it’s just outrageous that the media has so far failed to get unionists to spell out what “needs based” would actually entail. Of all the things that Scots need to know in advance of the referendum vote, I can think of nothing more critical than how the Scottish Parliament will continue to be (under-)funded in the event of a No vote.

    73. alexicon says:

      Aye its ‘rough’ going FoS, but that’s par for the course 🙂

    74. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Paula Rose says:
      @ Calgacus – what’s ‘bu***er’?

      Maybe “buffer” or “butter” …

      You’d have to ask JLT.

      BTW I have amended the first paragraph, as I think it previously gave the impression that we had voted “NO” in 1978, when arguably we were swindled with the dead-people-voting-no rule.

    75. muttley79 says:

      @Flower of Scotland

      I have no idea why some believe we will get Devo Max after a No vote. It really is time for voters in Scotland to understand that our protection against Westminster will be completely destroyed in the event of a No vote. Why the fuck would the British establishment give us substantial powers after a No vote? I think Sara Sheridan has written for National Collective. I have no idea where she is getting this idea from other than the biased MSM!

    76. gordoz says:

      Apologies Rev – related to Barnett issue +

      If you’ve alread read this info; but if not Im sure it would be of use at some stage.

      http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/8704-and-then-they-all-fell-silent

      http://joanmcalpine.typepad.com/joan_mcalpine/2011/02/time-for-some-academic-transparency.html

    77. Marcia says:

      Ian Grant

      It is not just Oil. All taxes and duties raised in Scotland travel down to the Exchequer before we get a proportion back.

    78. alexicon says:

      O/T.

      Not a bad analysis from Philip Stephenson on Gulf news.

      Still 1 or 2 glaring mistakes in his thinking though.

      http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/the-english-make-the-case-for-a-break-up-1.1288693

    79. Dennis Smith says:

      There are problems with the whole idea of a “needs-based formula”. This sounds wonderfully objective and scientific but in fact “needs” are both relative and politically contested. Does anyone need a TV? If so, does everyone need a TV? How do we go about deciding this?

      Some economists say there are no such things as needs, only wants. Needs are certainly relative to purposes. I may need a bucket to bail out my house if it’s flooded but a bucket is not much help if the roof has just blown off.

      Personally I have no wish to preserve the Barnett formula but the easiest way to replace it is simply to vote Yes. It’s nonsense to suggest that by waving a magic wand called “needs-based formula” we can find an instant solution that everyone recognises as fair.

    80. tartanfever says:

      mutley79 says:

      ‘I think Sara Sheridan has written for National Collective. I have no idea where she is getting this idea from other than the biased MSM!’

      I read her article, it was one of the worst things National Collective have ever posted and it received pretty much full support from the posters.

      Why someone would declare at the beginning of an article that they know nothing around the issues of independence would then continue to repeat every unfounded scare story in the book, rather than do the sensible thing of saying, ‘I’m not commenting because I actually don’t know enough’ I have no idea.

      Maybe sales of her book are low and she needs a booster. However, if this is a sign of the pitiful research she does I won’t be buying anything from her.

    81. Paula Rose says:

      @ calgacus – I thought it was one * per missed letter, has the exchange rate changed?

    82. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Paula Rose says:
      @ calgacus – I thought it was one * per missed letter, has the exchange rate changed?

      Depends what currency we are using these days.
      Are we still allowed to use the Pound?
      🙂

    83. Seasick Dave says:

      Completely OT and I must admit that I have not listened to it as I’m not a fan of weepy dramas but for those who like a tearjerker…

      Michelle Mone: ‘I’ve been crying a lot’

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26087967

      (Directed by Douglas Fraser).

    84. Andy-B says:

      Here’s the Secretary of State for Portsmouth Alistair Carmichael denying the Barnett Formula will change.

      youtu.be/aQqyH5XKizU

    85. liz says:

      The Lab Scottish branch are desperate to have the Barnett Formula reformed and money directed straight to the cooncils.

      This is so they can spend with impunity and not have to justify it.

      When you see the JoLa response- or not – to the ATOS question, you see how Lab Scottish branch are used to operating – with no scrutiny – it’s how they like it and how with BBC bias they have been allowed to get away with it for years.

      I am terrified of a No vote.

    86. muttley79 says:

      @liz

      Same here in regards a No vote. It will be even more infuriating if No voters still think we are going to get more powers. Self control may become very difficult!

    87. Thepnr says:

      O/T Douglas Fraser of the BBC actually mentions the FT report from last Monday stating “that Scotland could be 10.9% better off than the UK average, once you take oil and gas into account.”

      I’m confused.

      http://archive.is/RnLVb

    88. JLT says:

      Calgacus,

      I like it!

      As to the ‘bu**er’ …well, ehmm.. if I knew you were ACTUALLY going to make a PDF File, then I would have used more appropriate language!

      Maybe we should change it to ‘a ‘No’ voter should seriously have a word with themselves’

      If you can change it to that, then brill! Don’t want some 12 year old going, ‘Mum, what does the man mean here with ‘buuuu something?’

      Still …thanks, mate. It made my day amongst all my studying!

    89. heedtracker says:

      Douglas Fraser of the BBC primary purpose is to ensure that Scotland has little if any idea just how our public finances work. Try asking anyone you know what the Barnett formula is, how much Scotland actually earns or how much debt we owe thanks to Brown/Darling/Osborne debt frenzy.

    90. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @JLT says:
      Calgacus, I like it!
      Maybe we should change it to ‘a ‘No’ voter should seriously have a word with themselves’
      Still …thanks, mate. It made my day amongst all my studying!

      It’s now changed. No mention now of butter or butter or …
      🙂

      http://www.scotgov.com/pdf/2014/It_has_to_be_YES.pdf

    91. liz says:

      @Thepnr -maybe the UWS report is having more impact than we thought.

      Mr Small has been doing damage limitation but maybe behind the scenes they are more worried than they let on.

      With BBC bias making it’s way into the Herald, the info is getting out and they will not like their reputation being trashed.

    92. Julian Gibb says:

      X-Sticks

      March and Rally – don’t blame the team (Jeff/Alan/Anne)
      Ask YesScotland and Peter Murrel

    93. Donald Kerr says:

      “CPPR member signals support for Barnett being scrapped” via Newsnet Scotland tweet.

    94. JLT says:

      Calgacus,

      If you’re serious about using my comment, then this it reviewed. I’ve tidied it up, and used more appropriate language. Take it, use it, enjoy…

      ‘A No vote will fill Scots with self-loathing as the rest of the world laughs at the faint hearts of a once-proud people’

      That line above is a thought that will haunt many a ‘No’ voter at the most critical moment when it matters most, and it will hit home at that crucial key moment, when they are standing in the booth with a piece of paper in front of them, a pen in one hand, and one single question.

      “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

      …and as they read that question, it is at that moment, that realisation at what they are about to do, is now here. they can no longer delay it. They can no longer discuss it. The moment is now here, and for many a ‘No’ voter, it might not just leave them feeling slightly ill, but it will leave them in complete turmoil also.

      The reason being is simple. For the rest of their days, they will know that when Scotland needed that person most, they turned their back on her. They turned their back on their beloved Scotland.

      In the future, how can they sing ‘Flower of Scotland’, or say ‘I am a proud Scot’ when they know deep-down, they voted ‘No’. There will be NO justification for it. No answer they can give will truly suffice. They said ‘No’.
      What a mockery it would for that person who voted ‘No’ to sing that one key line in the 3rd verse of ‘Flower of Scotland’, when they have to sing ‘but we can still rise now, and be the nation again.’ Well …no we won’t, because YOU voted ‘No’!

      I can tell you right now, for me, a ‘No’ voter should seriously have a word with themselves when they come up with answers such as ‘we can’t afford it’, ‘we’ll be worse off’ or ‘I’m British’. Those are not answers that deserve a ‘No’ vote.

      Simply put, this is about your country, and the question is very simple in my book; are you Scottish or Not? Retorting answers of ‘Will I be £500 better off’ is not what this question is about’. For the Better Together campaign to shout this out, seriously have no argument or credibility.

      At the end of the day, this is about whether you truly love this land, it’s people, and it’s way of life. It is as simple as that. That is what we are really voting for. To vote ‘No’ means you are turning your back on all of that. With a ‘No’ vote, our Scottish Parliament will diminish, and so will our way of life. A more complex, alienating, right-wing, elite system will arise, heralding in severe austerity measures, which will be led by the banking system that failed us all. That is what truly awaits Scotland in the event of a ‘No’ vote.

      Which is why, in that key crucial moment, many a ‘No’ voter …maybe not all of them, but enough of them …will think about the future, and will thus, ponder,……before placing an ‘X’ in the ‘Yes’ box.

      To me, the key battle ground on the 18th of September will be the very moment when one stares at that question.

      That is when we will win…

      How about that, Calgacus. Tidied up, and a wee bit more for you to use. Cheers again

    95. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @liz says:
      With BBC bias making it’s way into the Herald, the info is getting out and they will not like their reputation being trashed.

      The BBC are in big big trouble over their biased Referendum coverage.
      Their global USP is in the dustbin. The penny hasn’t really dropped yet …

    96. Marcia says:

      Further to today’s published Panelbase poll, the party rankings are;

      http://archive.is/YEhY5

    97. Brotyboy says:

      On the theme expressed by JLT, the Rev Erik Cramb (hope I’ve spelled the name correctly) at the Yes Dundee Drop in yesterday;

    98. Marcia says:

      Stewart Hosie at the same meeting;

    99. Robyn - Quine fae Torry says:

      O/T. Story on Guardian just now about plans to privatise the state pension service. http://archive.is/hWlUZ

    100. Scotrock says:

      Young lady working in a Gourock this morning asked me a few questions on the YES campaign. She genuinely wanted some information on independence. I gave her this site info plus some YES information. Hope she has now joined us and at least Wings is now a source of information for her 🙂

    101. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @JLT says:
      Calgacus,
      How about that, Calgacus. Tidied up, and a wee bit more for you to use. Cheers again

      Updated again … here you go …

      http://www.scotgov.com/pdf/2014/It_has_to_be_YES.pdf

      🙂

    102. scottish_skier says:

      Further to today’s published Panelbase poll, the party rankings are.

      As expected.

      Waiting on the tables for Y/N as papers report weighted to turnout figures only, something highly questionable given pollsters have zero experience on this. Otherwise, within MOE, fits trends of gap closing.

    103. TheGreatBaldo says:

      From the Sunday Post article linked to above….

      “When Tony Blair’s New Labour was split over whether to join the Euro, Gordon Brown defused the row by setting out a series of key tests the economy would have to pass before signing up — knowing they would likely never be met. Any proposal to devolve income tax is unlikely to comply with Sarwar’s key tests.

      Not a direct quote from Sarwar…but when even the Sunday Post can see what your up to.

      I also loved this brief andd perhaps unintentional insight into the mind and mindset of Anas Sarwar….

      “Sarwar said: “Democracy is a beautiful thing. I’m a democrat. In a democracy people agree, people disagree.”

      He’s taken to wearing a broken watch to illustrate that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and added: “It goes back to my watch theory — nobody is right about everything and nobody is wrong about everything. My watch is the perfect example of that.”

      🙂 🙂

    104. @scottish_skier

      This might be of interest.

      “As you may know, the Scottish government intends to hold a referendum this year on Scotland becoming a country independent from the rest of the United Kingdom. The question on the ballot is expected to be as below. How would you vote in this referendum?

      http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/new-panelbase-referendum-poll.html

    105. scottish_skier says:

      @cynicalHighlander

      That’s interesting, i.e. the methodology change. Should benefit No / hit yes but it hasn’t really, instead it looks more like no change. That would suggest No has fallen since the last poll and Yes has risen, but this has just been cancelled by the methodology change.

      Also the preamble. What a radical difference this makes as evidenced by the SNP poll which put the Yes slightly ahead.

      A preamble is ok, but the one used by panelbase is too leading as it talks about being ‘independent from the UK’, which is not going to happen, rather the nature of the UK will change. Lizzie will still be the Queen of the UK, £ still currency…

      ICM’s is the fairest IMO.

      As you may know, a referendum on independence will be held in Scotland on 18 September 2014. Voters will be asked, “Should Scotland be an independent country”. Do you think you will vote “Yes” or “No”?

      ICM of course report the whole question in tables.

    106. Hetty says:

      When they say ‘needs based’ as in the replacement, is that like when the DWP send a letter saying how much benefit you will get, and it says, ‘this is the amount that the law says you need to live on’. Or much to that effect, with the amount? something like £70.00 a week before bills are even thought of, nice eh. With a no vote and no Barnett formula Scotland will be heading for economic catastrophe.

    107. Paul Kelly says:

      Seems pretty unequivocal to me,bye,bye, Barnett, hello needs. We all know what the Tories think about what Scotland needs! We can’t manage all this power afforded to us via devolution, it creates to many waves. We need the Tories to control our spending!

    108. X_Sticks says:

      Julian Gibb says:
      “March and Rally – don’t blame the team (Jeff/Alan/Anne)
      Ask YesScotland and Peter Murrel”

      Hi Julian, I’m not trying to apportion any blame to anyone. Jeff, Alan and Anne deserve a medal for the organisation of the march and rally.

      My real question is why do Yes (and Peter Murrel) think that it is not a good idea to have a rally. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Why do they think it is not a good idea to have a rally. Is there ‘intelligence’ that leads to this decision, or is it purely based on the belief that we should be out knocking on doors and running small local events?

      I have contributed to the Glasgow Green rally because I think some sort of rally ‘should’ be a good idea, but maybe I am mistaken because of things I do NOT know of. I know many who post here have links that might provide some enlightenment. That was why I asked the question.

    109. CameronB says:

      Sorry if this point has already been made, but I wanted to make it before the thread is too long.

      “Asked if it was time to get rid of the formula, Mr Cameron says: “This cannot last forever, the time is approaching … If we replace the Barnett Formula with a needs-based formula, Scotland has very great needs and Scotland will get very great resources.’

      Asked if, therefore, the formula is coming to the end of the road, he replies: ‘Yes, that’s right.’“

      I have said before that the level of need is generally proportional to the size of population. Where do most people live in Britain and so where is most need?

      Got a property bubble to prop up?

    110. CameronB says:

      Roddy Macdonald says 1:26 pm;

      “Excellent work, Stuart. Of course, the oft-quoted £1,200pp higher public spend in Scotland through the Barnett Formula takes account only of those areas which directly benefit the people. It takes no account whatsoever of the huge benefits that accrue to SE England from:

      Housing Central Govt,

      The majority of Defence expenditure (@ 2Bn deficit in Scotland),

      The great majority of Govt Contractors, and

      The huge benefit of being the only capital ‘honeypot’ in the territory of the UK.

      Decentralisation has always been a sham in the UK. I am minded of laughable early decentralisation attempts such as in the early 1980s when officers in MOD London posted draft letters up to the Typing Pool in Kentigern House in Glasgow to be typed.”

      Good point made about the scale of “unidentified” expenditure that benefits the south, primarily London, the M4 corridor and the major coastal port areas.

      The move to decentralise started before WWI, with the Garden City movement.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_city_movement

      This then led to the new town movement.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Town_movement

      Unfortunately, the drive to decentralise kind of ran out of steam by the 1960’s. Then Britain started suffering the effects of rising inflation, largely due to inefficiency, then the ‘oil shock’, hyper-inflation, Milton Freedman, Margret Thatcher, and we all took a hell of a kicking.

      Unfortunately the neo-liberal agenda managed to take hold before the real difficult aspect of decentralisation was even approached. Political decentralisation.

      Sorry for the lecture. Vote Yes.

    111. Ian MacDonald says:

      From my reading, the Scotland Act 2012 has already put the legislative mechanism in place by which the UK government will request reductions in the block grant after 2016. This is to reflect the fiscal impact of the tax raising power, rather than necessarily just the amount of money lost to the Scottish Parliament. It was implemented in such a way that MSPs will have to vote it through, but I think it is pretty clear how pressure would be applied if there was a NO vote in the referendum.

    112. Lochside says:

      @TheGreatBaldo at 7.33: Sarwar would be better wearing a broken record, not a broken watch.

    113. CameronB says:

      velofello says at 1:54 pm;

      A different approach would be to address the “needs” issues and move to equalise needs throughout the UK.

      Instance, why do workers in London need a earnings weighting allowance that much enhances their income over other regions? And why is it necessary to provide housing subsidies in London?

      Now if there was a wholesale movement of civil services and government functions out of London to other areas of the UK that may well much reduce London’s “needs” and by providing employment elsewhere reduce the “needs” of other regions of the UK.

      Alas the BBC have tried that by moving some functions to Manchester and has resulted in a massive bill for personnel – incurred travel and hotel expenses as they travel from , yes London.

      The solution proposed here will never happen. London “needs” will continue unchecked. Scotland’s block grant will be, to use a word currently in fashion, be diminished following a No vote. Only the extremely wealthy in Scotland will experience little loss following a NO vote, the professional and working classes will both suffer. My experience is that the professional classes are well aware of the threat.

      Blondie – Union City Blue (Vote Yes)

    114. CameronB says:

      Onwards says at 2:00 pm:

      “Surely a new ‘needs based formula’ is going to be skewed in favour of areas with the biggest population growth?

      What are the chances that will continue to be the south of England?

      At the moment the Barnett formula acts as a poor substitute for oil revenues.
      This is just a way of preparing to screw Scotland once the oil eventually declines.”

      Snap!

    115. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      If there is a disagreement it is better to have no rally than one which is poorly attended. There is very considerable sense in having us all doing car cavalcades and local street stalls etc on the Saturday before the vote..

      My idea is to be seeing what the arrangements we would need for a huge victory rally on 4th October. Glasgow Green to George Square (or the other way about)would be ideal as I don’t think there is an appropriate or big enough space in Edinburgh.

      I would however like to see a rally in Glasgow in late spring.
      I suspect we are winning in Glasgow now

    116. CameronB says:

      Dave McEwan Hill says at 4:02 pm

      “There is a false premise that the systems in place and the figures presented represent a fair and accurate account of overall Government spending across the UK. Thisis most certainly not the case.

      I have little doubt that there is wide recorded variation of per capita spending in different areas across the UK but the “identifiable public expenditure ” is focused largely on social spending which of course costs more per head for geographic reasons in Scotland.

      It takes no account whatsoever of huge amounts of Government spending in what is described as “national” expenditure which hugely benefits the south of England.

      To a very large extent the current debate on spending variation as is contained in Elizabeth’s piece is entirely bogus. It paints only about 70% of the whole expenditure picture. If so called national spending was recorded against the areas which benefit most from it it would show the south of England as having the highest per capita spending in UK by a long way.

      Channel tunnel anybody? Olympic Stadium anyone? 65% of the vast defence procurement budget in the south of England and less than half our population share in Scotland anyone? I could”.

      Snap! (perhaps it is group-think, or open-source maybes ;))

    117. CameronB says:

      I don’t know what has happened to this map of housing deprivation in England (there is one for Scotland), as it now seems to take a bit (lot), of fiddling to focus the image and now only at a national level. Anyway, the English map shows roughly where UK’s need is presently.

      With no alternative other than to feed the beast, what can we expect from a needs-based allocation of resources?

      Once pot come to simmer, insert frog.

      http://casa.oobrien.com/booth/# (England)

      http://oobrien.com/2012/02/reworking-booth-geodemographics-of-housing/

    118. CameronB says:

      Aah, I was trying to be too smart, as the frog would just hump out. Frog in first.

      We are possibly at simmer now though. Turn up heat!?

    119. CameronB says:

      Sorry for being a rash. Last post.

      Wouldn’t it be a giggle if Scotland developed a high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow, before HS2 reached Birmingham. Could we link to the border before HS2 reaches Leeds.

      Sometimes it is fun to set a high bar. Who would fund the last link though,the Chinese?

    120. Barontorc says:

      The question about a high speed rail-link, in any case, is why do we need to have a spend of billions to shave less than an hour off a journey? Is our time so tight we need to save 35 minutes here and there?

      What we want are reliable, clean and safe trains that give a decent service and a railtrack system with appropriate depots to take the monster lorries off our roads.

      Vanity projects we need like a hole in the head. GARL was pushed and pushed by Labour to get, according to some sources, around half a dozen travelers to Glasgow Airport each trip and run at a huge loss year on year. In all my years of overseas travel – the first choice is for convenience, ease of use and frequency. Arriving in Glasgow and toting your luggage between railway stations or the bus station or the hotels is a no brainer and would not be done twice.

    121. CameronB says:

      Barontorc
      I actually agree, just trying to stimulate debate and focus attention on the apparent future for decentralisation from London (i.e HS2).

      If you can imagine where the London-Birmingham-Leeds HS2 line would sit on the deprivation map, you get an idea where the bulk of needs based allocation will be directed. Just in time to replace oil revenue to support a property bubble along the HS2 route.

      I don’t actually think Scotland should being subsidising the HS2 line, without guarantees of considerable returns.

    122. CameronB says:

      editor please

    123. Peter Macbeastie says:

      I think the only consistent line of truth throughout all those quotes is ‘the Barnett Formula was only intended to be temporary.’

      And now it’s been in place for so long, trying to call it temporary as an excuse to change it is a bit of joke.

      Let’s change it ourselves. Let’s ensure the whole link between Westminster and Scotland is cut and keep every penny of what is raised in Scotland in Scotland. Simple. And then they’d find someone else to complain got too much money; probably Wales or Northern Ireland, just to distract everyone from the rarely mentioned fact that one area of the UK gets more government subsidy than any of the other areas.

      London and the South East.

    124. Muscleguy says:

      @Calgacus McAndrew
      From your .pdf
      “The reason being is simple.”

      Can you translate that into English please?

    125. Ian MacDonald says:

      I was looking through some government publications and academic studies last night, and I noticed a few things that make it look like the real scale of government spending in London and the South East is heavily masked, and make it difficult to tell what is really going on.
      The two biggest are that the UK Treasury accounts for regional allocation of spending on the “for” rather than “in” basis, so you can’t be sure where the money is actually being spent and causing economic as opposed to soft “policy” benefit. The other is that 17% of spending (about £120 billion) is national for the UK as a whole. I can only imagine that the vast majority of this is spent in London, and if it was accounted for, would blow a complete hole in the argument that anywhere other than London is the subsidy junky of the UK.
      Even studies biased in favour of the South East and London show that public spending per capita there is higher than anywhere else in the UK. They then justify this on the basis that tax receipts there are higher. But these figures fail to take into account where money is actually spent and the invisible “national” benefit to the London economy.
      On top of all of that, the continued conflation of casino and real banking has meant that when the London financial sector threatened to go pear shaped, rather than letting it do so, it was bailed out using UK taxpayer’s money to the tune of tens of billions. This presumably also would be accounted for as a benefit to the whole of the UK. But it was done to save the city of London, and nationalised loses onto the UK balance sheet which were generated to pay huge salaries, bonuses and profits to predominantly London, South East and non-UK-domiciled bankers. This all amounts to a “too big to fail subsidy”, which has been calculated at £38 billion by the New Economics Foundation.
      Does anyone out there have reference to a study or studies which really probes this question about where ALL of the UK public money is actually spent?

    126. Spansco says:

      A No vote will be an unmitigated disaster for Scotland. It will give Westminster the green light to cut deep into the Scottish budget. Not once do any of the people mentioned above mention the surplus Westminster has taken out of Scotland over and above what they hand back. The revenue from Scottish oil and gas and from our other exports that go directly into the Westminster exchequer. A No vote means they will continue to take, but give even less back.

    127. Will Podmore says:

      Yes, Ian, Labour and ConDem governments used our tax money to bail out their banker buddies. This is to benefit the tiny minority of finance capitalists, not London as a whole. But why do you think RBS-man Salmond would do any different? Why is the Union your enemy, when our obvious common enemy is the capitalist class, whether based in Canary Wharf or in Edinburgh?

    128. Brotyboy says:

      Now up to 3. Any advance?

    129. tartanfever says:

      Will,

      Salmond would not have done anything different, the point is, he openly accepted that his ideas on de-regulation in 2007 were wrong, he said it publicly on a number of occasions. he said he would do things differently now, and that banks would have to be regulated.

      As absolutely nothing has been done in Westminster to regulate banks, in fact the complete opposite being true, the banks have been protected it’s farcical for you to come on here and lambast Salmond, who has no power over banking regulation and leave out Darling, Cameron, Balls, Cable etc etc.

      Your personal bitterness does not make a compelling argument.

    130. Will Podmore says:

      tartanfever, you misrepresent me – why? I did not leave out Darling, Cameron, Balls, Cable etc. Who do you think I was referring to when I wrote “Labour and ConDem governments used our tax money to bail out their banker buddies”?
      Remarks about some presumed ‘personal bitterness’ don’t add up to any kind of argument.

    131. OscarDilettante says:

      When Westminster politicians refer to “needs”, remember that they think you don’t need;
      – Healthcare (the NHS is being dismantled in England)
      – Education (unless you can afford to pay £9000+ per year)
      – Free Prescriptions (your wellbeing is not their priority)
      – A postal service that delivers (the privatisation of Royal Mail has already turned sour as they abandon loss-making life-line services)
      – Extra help if you or a member of your family is disabled (bedroom tax, universal credit debacle)
      Your “needs” will be dictated by a Westminster government that is not accountable to the people of Scotland.
      Better Together? – No Thanks!
      Vote Yes.

    132. Frankie goes to Holyrood says:

      Perhaps explicitly cite the “House of Lords elect Committee on the Barnett Formula”?

      QUOTE
      “While we are not in a position to reach a conclusion about the precise relative needs in the four countries and regions, on the basis of our initial analysis, we BELIEVE that SCOTLAND now has a markedly LOWER NEED THAN Wales and Northern Ireland in comparison with England. The CURRENT ALLOCATION of spending DOES NOT properly REFLECT this basic pattern across the devolved administrations.”

      SOURCE
      “House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula: the Government’s response” (Recommendation 2.14) – Dec 2009
      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228660/7772.pdf

    133. Cair Dhomhnaill Broon says:

      Time to scrap Barnet – neither need it not want it post indy. Focus should be on gtf as fast as possible with predominance on the former.

    134. Be very careful with the “formula” it may explode

    135. The “needs” will mean another ATOS company who will decide what each individual needs are,in other words your needs will be what we decide and they wont be what you really need.It is just a method of cutting back so that the poorest remain so,and the richest gain the most.

    136. Andrew Stuart says:

      By using the phrase “Needs-based Formula” they make it difficult to argue with, because who can argue that we should receive more than is needed especially in times of austerity. However we all know what “needs” really means Westminster decide that we don’t need it so we don’t get it. Our poor will get poorer and their rich will get richer so that they can secure the UK’s position at the head of a league table, that of the most unequal country in the developed world.
      YES is the only escape from this criminal former empire.



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