SNP ‘can’t have cake and eat it’ over Barnett Formula

Scotland's First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon at Westminster
Scotland's First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon at Westminster
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Chris Grayling warned the SNP they “can’t have their cake and eat it” after his Government was accused of carrying out “another great train robbery” in Scotland.

SNP MP Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) criticised Westminster for “ripping up” a long-standing funding agreement for Scotland’s rail budget, amid claims there will be a £600 million shortfall over the five years from 2019/20.

But Transport Secretary Mr Grayling said Mr Brown’s remarks represented an “historic moment” in the Commons, with the SNP opposing a funding allocation which uses the Barnett formula.

READ MORE: The Barnett Formula: What it is and why it is important

The formula is used by the Treasury to calculate funding given to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Treasury has said the Scottish Government will receive more than £3.6 billion over the five-year period - an increase of £600 million on the previous period.

But the Scottish Government argues this is a “real terms cut” and that it needs £4.2 billion.

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Speaking in the Commons, Mr Brown said: “Mr Speaker, you may not be aware but last week there was another great train robbery when £600 million was removed from Scotland’s rail budget due to the Tories ripping up a long-standing funding formula.

“So for the sake of Scottish rail users, will the Secretary of State get together with the Treasury and give Scotland the correct funding?”

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Mr Grayling replied: “Well, this is an historic moment because this is the Scottish National Party opposing a funding allocation using the Barnett formula.

“Now I was under the impression they regarded the Barnett formula as sacrosanct, however, when the UK Government uses the Barnett formula, they complain.

“They can’t have their cake and eat it.”