£1,500 MILLION ‘BRIBE’ FOR DUP TO SUPPORT UK TORY GOVERNMENT
The DUP has agreed a deal to support the minority Conservative government at Westminster in return for an additional £1,500 million of funding for Northern Ireland and a host of other concessions, ranging from Defence spending to the Winter Fuel Allowance.
Patricia Gibson said:
“The Tories need to spell out what this bribe means for Scotland.
“The DUP has driven a hard bargain, knowing how desperate the Tories are to cling to power
“Only yesterday Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:
"I certainly won't support funding which is deliberately sought to subvert the Barnett rules."
“The Barnett formula is to Scotland’s advantage. I’m not going to do anything to prejudice that. Any funding that goes to Northern Ireland, then Barnett rules will ensure the appropriate funding comes to Scotland.
“We’re going to have a totally transparent arrangement with the DUP. I’m not going to agree to anything that could be construed as back door funding to Northern Ireland.”
“Mr Mundell - with Scotland’s 13 Tory MPs - needs to stand up now and be counted and stick to his guns. If £1,500 million can be found for Northern Ireland then Scotland, Wales and indeed England should receive additional funding. Mr Mundell needs to spell out how much that will be now!”
WHAT IS THE BARNETT FORMULA?
The Barnett formula is a mechanism used by the UK Treasury to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to devolved administrations to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England, England and Wales or the UK.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When a change is made to a UK Government department’s budget, normally at a spending review, the Barnett formula takes into account the budget change, considers how comparable the services provided by the department are to those provided by the devolved administration, and applies a population proportion, as shown below. This calculation is carried out for all UK departments and the results are added to the devolved administrations’ block grants.
SO THE BARNETT FORMULA IS:
Change to the UK Government department’s budget x comparability percentage x appropriate population proportion.
The formula is not set out in legislation. It is Treasury policy and laid out in the Statement of Funding Policy which is updated and published alongside the spending review. In practice the Treasury dictates how the formula works and how it should be applied, although there is a policy for dealing with disputes. In theory the formula can be used or changed by the UK Government as it wishes, although that may have political consequences.
HOW IT CHANGES:
Although the Barnett formula represents normal procedure, changes to the block grant can be made outside it by a process often referred to as ‘formula bypass.’
SO WILL MORE FUNDING GIVEN TO NORTHERN IRELAND ALSO BENEFIT SCOTLAND?
If the Barnett formula is used the result would depend on which departments are affected. It only applies changes in the fixed budget of a department to the ‘block grant’ paid to the devolved governments. It doesn’t decide all funding.
Ultimately, how any additional funding for Northern Ireland might affect the rest of the UK will be decided by political negotiation.