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English right to resent Scots finance, says expert

Scotland receives 15 per cent too much in funding, says Prf Holtham. Picture: PA

Scotland receives 15 per cent too much in funding, says Prf Holtham. Picture: PA

  • by DAVID MADDOX
 

A LEADING constitutional expert has claimed that the English are “entitled to feel hard done by” Scotland’s share of public finances.

Professor Gerald Holtham of Cardiff University told MPs on the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee that Scotland receives 15 per cent too much in funding because of the Barnett Formula.

Prof Holtham chaired the Welsh Assembly Government’s review of funding which looked into the Barnett Formula which decides how money is divided on a needs basis around the UK.

He also claimed that London is over funded while Wales and Northern Ireland receive the correct amount within two per cent which he said was “within the margin of error.”

Referring to Scotland’s share of funding, he said: “Do the English feel hard done by? They are probably entitled to do so.”

Prof Holtham also said that there needs to be a constitutional convention into the future of changes across the UK similar to the one which drew up the blueprint for Scottish devolution.

He insisted that this could be done at the same time as the independence referendum campaign in Scotland.

He also pointed out that different options are being considered for different parts of the UK. So while devolving corporation tax and air passenger duty has been ruled out for Scotland, they are the only taxes being considered to be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

But he said: “It is usual for most federal systems to be asymetrical.”

 

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