Remembering what Lord Barnett has to say about his formula

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Monday 03 November 2014 11:00
news

The former Labour cabinet minister and creator of the Barnett formula, Lord Barnett, has died. He was 91.

The formula he devised in 1978 while chief secretary to the Treasury was designed to give a clear way of allocating funds to devolved governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Lord Barnett said he thought at the time it might "last a year or two and save me a bit of trouble" - but it has been used by successive governments ever since.

Under its terms - which Lord Barnett described as "grossly unfair" just a few months ago - it means that Scotland receives around £1,600 per person in public funds more than England.

As he said in an interview with BBC news at the height of the debate over Scottish independence:

£1,600 in Scotland extra allows them to do all kinds of things. University fees, subscription charges, things we can't do in England. But if the government feel afterwards that Scots should have extra money then do it honestly, not by this subterfuge of a formula.

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Lord Barnett was born Joel Barnett and became an MP in 1964 and a life peer in 1984. His daughter Erica said he died on Saturday after a short illness.

More: The A to Z of the Scottish independence referendum

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