Iain Dale has had a pop at the Barnett Formula (the agreement forged when Lord Joel Barnett was Chief Secretary to the Treasury more than thirty years ago that residents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should automatically and in perpetuity get a larger slice of public spending per head than people living in England) and Tom Harris has then had a go at Iain Dale for saying that the Formula is outmoded because of devolution.
Tom Harris is right in saying that the devolution argument is irrelevant to the case against the Formula, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the Barnett Formula does need to be replaced by something that genuinely reflects the needs of the population in the different parts of the country.
Of course, Tom Harris spoils his argument with a gratuitous side-swipe at London. London has Boroughs that consistently have the greatest levels of deprivation and needs in the UK, but London and Londoners have to subsidise the rest of the UK year in and year out to the tune of more than £20 billion.
Yes, of course, the Barnett Formula needs to go and the rest of the UK that relies on London for its prosperity should stop knocking the Capital.