The Barnett formula is not popular.
Nor is it fair according to Gerry Holtham who issued a report on the subject back in July. The formula is based on population and not on the age of that population or the levels of poverty amongst that population.
Peter Hain says it’s worked alright until now but accepts that Wales could lose out in the future and to make sure that doesn't happen he’s said (if Labour win the next General Election) come Budget time the Government will pay special attention to Wales and “take action if appropriate”.
It’s been widely criticised (although not, I should say, by Gerry Holtham).
Of course this won’t be Peter Hain’s problem if Labour lose next year’s General Election – the decision on how to deal with Barnett could then be down to the Conservatives.
Here’s what their Wales spokesperson, Cheryl Gillan, had to say in full yesterday:
“Typically, this is a vague promise to do something in the future.
“In this very statement the Government reveals they don’t expect further convergence to happen in the coming years.
”This is a nothing statement, which is more about electioneering than securing the future financing of Wales.”
Call me a cynic but it doesn’t look like Barnett is going anywhere anytime soon...
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