Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Barnet should not divide Wales and Scotland.

Two interesting pieces on Wales Oniline this Morning 

The first concerns our beloved First Minister visit to Scotland  to tell them that they should vote No in the Independence Referendum

Earlier he said

"That a lasting devolution settlement within a strong United Kingdom is a better route than separatism.”
“While independence is not on the agenda in Wales, we are following the debate in Scotland with interest. This is an opportunity for me to set out why I believe a strong Scotland in a strong UK is a positive choice in next year’s referendum.”

Its a bit like a 2nd division football manager telling his counterpart in the Championship  that they should not strive for promotion to the Premiership because its better life  in the lower divisions

But it is the SNP response which is interesting because they have accused Carwyn  of supporting cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget if the country remains in the UK, suggesting it could fall by £4bn if there are changes to the Barnett formula used to allocate Treasury cash.

The SNP stated that 

Scotland generates 9.9% of UK tax revenues but receives just 9.3% of UK public spending.
The prospect of changes to the Barnett formula would see further money taken from Scotland in order to boost spending in Wales – a move that Carwyn Jones should come clean with people in Scotland about.
Linda Fabiani, an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament, said: 

“Carwyn Jones has never been shy about his desire to change the Barnett formula in a way that would disadvantage Scotland. The Welsh First Minister has the perfect opportunity to use his visit to Scotland to spell out to people here just how much he wants Scotland’s budget cut by if there is a No vote next year.”

So its interesting to look at the other piece in the Mule. Where Plaid have challenged Labour to make reform of the controversial Barnett Formula a manifesto commitment at the next general election in 2015

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesman Jonathan Edwards has challenged Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls to clarify his party’s policy on reform of the Barnett Formula.

He said Labour’s “dithering” on the issue had exposed it as the “anti-devolution party”, and that Wales needed a Government committed to what’s best for its people, not for its MPs.

Mr Edwards said:

 “Edward Balls has consistently stated that he has no ambition to reform the Barnett Formula. Now that the First Minister of Wales has said that the Labour Party does not support an income-tax sharing arrangement as proposed by the all-party UK Government-sponsored Silk Commission, it is imperative that the people of Wales are informed whether or not a future Labour UK Government will reform the funding formula for Wales.
“If Edward Balls has not changed his position in relation to this issue, then I’m afraid the First Minister finds himself stuck under a torrential cloudburst without an umbrella

So does this mean that Plaid also  favour a cut in the Barnett formula in Scotland and the money diverted to Wales?

Probably not 

But shouldn't Plaid make it clear that robbing "Peter to pay Paul" is no what they are suggesting.

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