The House of Lords has set up an Inquiry to look into all the issues surrounding the Barnett Formula. The Formula is a Treasury device set up in the Harold Wilson government under the direction of Joel Barnett by which extra expenditure is made to the populations of Scotland, N.I., and Wales in excess per head of what it makes to England. Wilson brought in the measure at the urging of Scottish Labour MPs who were very worried by the increasing popularity of the SNP. It was in effect a measure to secure support both for Labour and for the continuation of the Union. After 40 years of operation it is creating all sorts of problems, and that is why the Lords Inquiry has been set up.
‘The main problem about the Formula,’ Mrs Scilla Cullen Chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament has stated in a message to the House of Lords, ‘is the injustice it is inflicting upon the people of England. We in England pay for it, to the tune of an extra £280 per English person per annum, while being denied its benefits. The disparity is gross. Each person in Scotland, N.I., and Wales receives £1500 more per year than people in England for such important areas of expenditure as education, social services and health care. Whatever was the situation in the 1960s, in the year 2008 there are areas of poverty and deprivation in England as great, possibly greater, than any in Scotland and Wales. That fact reveals the Formula’s basic flaw, that it allows increased expenditure based not on need but on nationality. The Scots, the Northern Irish, the Welsh gain, the English lose out. That contradicts the very basis on which the Union was founded.'
‘There is also a problem with the Lords Inquiry itself. It is essential that it is so constituted that it inspires confidence. But does it?’ Mrs Cullen asks. ‘There are 12 members on it. Two have credentials to represent Welsh interests; one being knighted for services to Wales and the other ex Chairman of the Commission on the Welsh Assembly. Three have credentials to represent Northern Irish interests being an ex NI Minister, a current NI spokesman and the ex First Minister of the NI Assembly. Four have credentials to represent Scottish interests; two being ex MPs for Scottish constituencies & former Secretaries of State for Scotland, one is a Scottish Peer and the fourth signed the Claim of Right for Scotland which included the intention of putting Scotland's interests first. That leaves three Peers, two are former British MPs for English constituencies and one a former British civil servant. Who then of these noble Lords has the express credentials to represent and protect the interests of the English taxpayer?
Scilla Cullen: tel: 01438 833133 email: email@example.com