The Barnett Formula is full of holes

William Ballantyne (Letters, 15 May) is not the first to imply the Barnett Formula is beneficial to Scotland, and he won’t be the last.

The myth of Barnett is soon demolished by its primary 7 arithmetic. It applies not to our spending, but to the block grant funding (identifiable) from Westminster, and it compares with that of England (not easily identifiable).

It works like this: if England has £100 per head, we have £120 (20 per cent more). If England receives year-on-year enhancement of 5 per cent, they receive £5, and we also get £5, but on our £120, that is worth only 4 per cent. So on our block grant of £25bn, we lose 1 per cent, ie, £250m each year.

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In effect, what Barnett does is to return the tax proceeds we have to ship off to the UK Exchequer, while clawing back the remaining cash from when successive unionist Westminster governments ploughed into Scotland in the post-war years to thwart the nationalists!

On fiscal autonomy, the assumption is that the basis for concern is the £7.6bn from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with which the unionist politicians seem content, without divulging their own calculation.

Without the detail of their £7.6bn, and given the timing of their announcement, I reckon there is still to follow the next tranche of Westminster cuts, about £5bn.

And with a delay of, say, four years till implementation, there is further £1bn of Barnett shortfall, so we can revise the figure down to £1.6bn.

Regarding concern about the SNP being content with some delay, I can only assume that is because it is the unionist-dominated Westminster that will force the cuts upon us, thus assisting our viability, without the need for the Scottish Government itself having to instigate the measures.

And the £5bn also reads across to the elimination of our 20 per cent advantage (20 per cent of £25bn) leaving aside, in this context, the fact that England would also suffer cuts.

Douglas R Mayer

Thomson Crescent


I see William Ballantine 
believes that the unionists are 
the “real defenders of Scotland”.

Does that mean that the 
unionists now intend to talk constructively with the elected representatives of the 

Mr Ballantine also gets in another tediously repetitive dig at the SNP and I’m left to ponder – oh Lord, is it going to be like this for another five years?

Douglas Turner

Derby Street