Redcar and the Barnett formula

In my last post I described some good news (at last) for the North East of England as the Redcar Steel works re-opened. I also mentioned how the region has been so badly treated by successive governments.

The North East of England is, obviously, part of England. No surprises there. Consequently, like the rest of England the North East pays substantially into the Barnett formula. The Barnett formula provides a huge subsidy to Scotland. It was a stop gap quick fix for a long past Scottish funding problem that was supposed to last a year. While the funding issue may be long gone the Barnett formula is still with us 20 years later.

Nobody in government has the balls to cancel it.

Each person in Scotland get an extra £1200 a year spent on them compared to their English counterparts (i.e. like the good folk of the North East). This amounts to no less than a 11p in the pound tax break for the Scots. (See Yorkshire Post here)

In a time of national penury, if anyone should get such a tax break, surely it should be North East England rather than the whole Scottish nation.

Much of Scotland is wealthy - very wealthy. It is not right that poorer parts of the UK end up losing their services and opportunities simply to subsidise and placate the ever greedy Alex Salmond and the Scottish Parliament.

The Barnett formula is intrinsically unfair.

Ask yourself this:

Should poor (or even well-off) English working people be paying extra to support the likes of like Sir Fred Goodwin (Scottish resident). Should English tax payers support Scotland so it can offer free student education to not only Scottish students but other European students as well? While English students wanting to study in Scotland have to pay the full whack?

Scotland has plenty of resources. Even if Scotland wants to remain part of the Union then the Barnett formula should be abolished or at least modified so that subsidy is given on basis of need not national boundary. But if Scotland wants out of the union, well, by all means, in that case the Scots should spend their taxes however they want.

If the Scots want independence then it is their right to pursue it. Trying to buy them off with this dirty little Danegeld called the Barnett Formula is as repulsive as it is unfair.

But if that is how it is going to be, then what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander. Please do not expect my taxes to subsidise Scottish largesse or anything else for that matter.

English taxes are desperately needed elsewhere - like bringing jobs to Yorkshire and the North East


Unknown said...

It's not just Scotland Bill, the unfairness goes across the board, the three regional assemblies and the regions within England, government expenditure should over a period be level, after-all our taxes are level.

When I argued for equal government expenditure on a BBC blog, 18 months or so ago, I was shouted (keyboarded) down, it's time for equality across the board, have the politicians to backbone, I doubt it.

As for Scottish Independence, it has gone too far, I believe it is time to wish them well and send them off to their particular nirvana ...

BilloTheWisp said...

You are right John, it not just Scotland, neither is it just national.

The Barnett formula though, is an icon for this corrupt Dane-geld style appeasment of various pressure groups.

I don't think anyone objects to money (taxes) being spent to alleviate need where it exists or give a helping hand to get various industries over a bad spot.

But in almost all cases the money gets used to buy off and placate special interest groups so they can squander the money on mad schemes and agendas.

What I was trying to show was how this corrupt tax allocation really does impact on tax payers.

Especially on those who could do with a break.