Brassneck on the Barnett formula

The gap between Scottish and English public spending seems to be moving up the agenda at the moment. Over at the Daily Telegraph’s Brassneck blog, Mick Fealty argues that the Conservatives should embrace fiscal autonomy for Scotland.

Personally, I think if there is a real injustice to England in the current union settlement it lies in the West Lothian Question rather than the Barnett formula. However, Mick is probably right that addressing the latter is a politically easier route to capitalising on English resentment. If that were done by giving Scotland responsibility for its own taxes, it would probably enjoy support on both sides of the border. Indeed with Tory backing, the idea would have a clear majority at Holyrood.

The devil, of course, would be in the detail. Even Wendy Alexander has flirted with the idea of fiscal federalism, but Labour has set down a clear marker against devolving oil revenues.







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