England is largely invisible to Whitehall civil servants, despite the big changes that have been brought about by devolution. But its concerns may become more important if parts of England become more vociferous in their demand for changes to the Barnett formula, which decides how much money goes from the Treasury to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…
…One particularly controversial area is the continued use of the 1978 Barnett formula to decide what money goes to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The formula was designed to allocate fixed proportionate increases to the territories after the defeat of devolution proposals in the 1970s, but several Northern English regions believe it gives them an unfair disadvantage in funding.
"Barnett was an anomaly tolerated before devolution, but its continuation since 1998 has become increasingly controversial," adds Prof Hazell. "Particularly in Northern English regions, despite the recent North East referendum results, there is a strong sense that
Scotland gets an unfair share of the national cake. Those protests have been muted somewhat by the large increases in public spending that the Chancellor has managed in recent spending reviews. But once the belt tightens again, the protestors are likely to make their voices heard much more loudly."