Region has nothing to fear economically from independent Scotland - but there'll no review of Barnett Formula

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont meets Bridget Phillipson MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, last month

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont meets Bridget Phillipson MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, last month

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

THE North-East has nothing to fear from "devo max" for Scotland, Labour's leader north of the border has insisted.

Interviewed by The Northern Echo, Johann Lamont rejected suggestions that Scotland is poised to gain a huge economic advantage over its neighbouring region, in return for voting 'no' to independence.

Instead, Ms Lamont urged people in the North-East not to believe "propaganda" about extra powers and riches heading to Edinburgh, saying: "We shouldn't let people divide us."

However, she risked controversy by rejecting a review of the much-criticised Barnett Formula, which delivers much higher public spending to Scotland than to the North of England.

Ms Lamont said: "I believe it has served us well. There is no desire to get rid of the Barnett Formula."

The Labour leader in Scotland spoke ahead of September's independence referendum, amid pro-Union nervousness that the 'No' vote's long-held poll lead is narrowing.

All the Westminster parties are putting together pledges of further devolution, to encourage Scottish voters to reject nationalism - often dubbed "devo max".

Under Labour's plans, the Scottish Parliament would control billions of pounds worth of income tax and welfare spending, even allowing it to axe the so-called 'bedroom tax'.

Holyrood has already won permission to issue "Braveheart bonds" for capital investment in roads, hospitals, schools and flood defences, with borrowing powers up from 500m to 2.2bn.

Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Barnett Formula gives Scotland 733 more per person than the much poorer North-East - a figure that has more than doubled from 361, in 2010-11.

In the North-East, both Labour and Conservative MPs have raised the alarm that a vast gap in muscle and resources is set to grow even wider.

But Ms Lamont hit back, saying: "Scotland has a fixed budget. Our choice is about how we spend it "I can understand people in the North-East hearing about the fantastic things going on in Scotland, but that other side of it is never spoken about.

"Scotland will not be getting more money, it will simply be accountable for raising more of its money. I hope that dispels some myths."

There was a problem of "asymmetrical devolution", but it was up to the North-East to resolve it, she added.

Critics of the Barnett Formula point out that it is based on an outdated measure of the relative population sizes of England and Scotland, rather than on "need".

But Ms Lamont said: "It does distribute funds according to need across the United Kingdom. It's not about the Barnett Formula - it's about the economic choices made, at a UK level, about public spending."

The interview followed a visit by Labour MPs Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) and Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South), to explore the implications of a 'Yes' vote.

Ms Lamont said: "The Scottish Nationalists like to present everyone in England as being like David Cameron, so it was refreshing to remind ourselves that there are also Labour people - with the same shared values and concerns."

Asked for a referendum prediction, she said: "We are fighting for every single vote, but I'm optimistic that hope will triumph over grievance."

Comments (20)

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11:26am Mon 14 Apr 14

behonest says...

Ms Lamont said: "I believe it has served us well. There is no desire to get rid of the Barnett Formula."

As the Barnett Formula gives so much to Scotland, of course Scottish Labour will say it has served them well. And of course there's no desire in Scotland to get rid of it!

The coalition seem to want to keep it, as another bribe for a No vote. There also seems to be no desire within Labour North East to get rid of it, which is not too surprising given that the North East will always vote Labour anyway, regardless of how much Labour ignore this issue, and how much worse off they make the North East is as a result.
Ms Lamont said: "I believe it has served us well. There is no desire to get rid of the Barnett Formula." As the Barnett Formula gives so much to Scotland, of course Scottish Labour will say it has served them well. And of course there's no desire in Scotland to get rid of it! The coalition seem to want to keep it, as another bribe for a No vote. There also seems to be no desire within Labour North East to get rid of it, which is not too surprising given that the North East will always vote Labour anyway, regardless of how much Labour ignore this issue, and how much worse off they make the North East is as a result. behonest
  • Score: 11

12:22pm Mon 14 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

100% correct behonest. Labour is happy to see money spent in Scotland rather than the much poorer North East. I'd love a lefty to explain the logic.
100% correct behonest. Labour is happy to see money spent in Scotland rather than the much poorer North East. I'd love a lefty to explain the logic. David Lacey
  • Score: 1

1:14pm Mon 14 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

No logic. No reply. Just thumbs down - probably from the usual crew.
No logic. No reply. Just thumbs down - probably from the usual crew. David Lacey
  • Score: -4

1:21pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Sidthekid73 says...

Just so we're all on the same page... Devo Max is not available on the referendum ballot paper. You have nothing to fear from Devo Max.
Just so we're all on the same page... Devo Max is not available on the referendum ballot paper. You have nothing to fear from Devo Max. Sidthekid73
  • Score: 14

2:07pm Mon 14 Apr 14

JimDallas says...

"As the Barnett Formula gives so much to Scotland, of course Scottish Labour will say it has served them well."

You may notice though, that nowhere in the article does it mention 'Scottish Labour', it refers to the 'Labour leader in Scotland'. The party HQ is in London, everywhere else is a branch.
"As the Barnett Formula gives so much to Scotland, of course Scottish Labour will say it has served them well." You may notice though, that nowhere in the article does it mention 'Scottish Labour', it refers to the 'Labour leader in Scotland'. The party HQ is in London, everywhere else is a branch. JimDallas
  • Score: 15

2:23pm Mon 14 Apr 14

ronnie anderson says...

Johann Lamont ( Scotland a neighbouring region to Nth of England ) Scotland is a Country and Johann Lamont is more laught at ( even within her own constuancy & labour party ) not a politicion of any note, what people in the rUK are'nt aware of there are many political persuesions & none, and many nationalities living working in Scotland voteing for YES, People here in Scotland are sick to the back teeth of Westminster Troughfers NOT the people in other parts of the UK ( I have many family members/friends in the south of Eng ) Peoples of the Nth of Eng & Scots have a shared history of being ignored by Westminster, Lamont is facing a long walk into political oblivion as with Darling/Brown/Murray
/Davidson, & the Lib con Dems arent worth the bother, Socialist SLAB sideing with the Tories to stop the democratic will of the Scottish People. It will be the night of the Long Knife's on the 19/9/14,their times up on the RED & GREEN benches at our exspence.
Johann Lamont ( Scotland a neighbouring region to Nth of England ) Scotland is a Country and Johann Lamont is more laught at ( even within her own constuancy & labour party ) not a politicion of any note, what people in the rUK are'nt aware of there are many political persuesions & none, and many nationalities living working in Scotland voteing for YES, People here in Scotland are sick to the back teeth of Westminster Troughfers NOT the people in other parts of the UK ( I have many family members/friends in the south of Eng ) Peoples of the Nth of Eng & Scots have a shared history of being ignored by Westminster, Lamont is facing a long walk into political oblivion as with Darling/Brown/Murray /Davidson, & the Lib con Dems arent worth the bother, Socialist SLAB sideing with the Tories to stop the democratic will of the Scottish People. It will be the night of the Long Knife's on the 19/9/14,their times up on the RED & GREEN benches at our exspence. ronnie anderson
  • Score: 27

2:30pm Mon 14 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

My goodness - can anyone translate that last message?
My goodness - can anyone translate that last message? David Lacey
  • Score: -15

2:35pm Mon 14 Apr 14

ronnie anderson says...

If anybody is interested in the Referendum debate visit internet sites Bbc/Msm have a Bias approach in favour of Better Together ( its beyond believe some of the crap that the NO campain come up with ( Lord John Robinson,Scotland being a threat to Western neoglobal defence ) no wonder we here can laugh our way to a YES vote, To Wee To Poor To Stupid , what a insult to any Peoples of this United Kingdom,I am a non political of any political party.
A Disanfranchised SCOT
If anybody is interested in the Referendum debate visit internet sites Bbc/Msm have a Bias approach in favour of Better Together ( its beyond believe some of the crap that the NO campain come up with ( Lord John Robinson,Scotland being a threat to Western neoglobal defence ) no wonder we here can laugh our way to a YES vote, To Wee To Poor To Stupid , what a insult to any Peoples of this United Kingdom,I am a non political of any political party. A Disanfranchised SCOT ronnie anderson
  • Score: 18

3:37pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Darloresident says...

Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also?
We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc.. I ask myself who pays for all this in those other countries?? It seems to me as though the "devolved" nations take all the goodies that a United Kingdom has to offer and then goes ahead and raids our coffers for even more..Please can some one tell me why I have to pay for things that my neighbours up the road dont have to? Where does the money come from??
Lets have a referendum for an independent England..We will soon see if it got a yes vote who would fare better.If the scots vote yes then Hadrians wall should be built back up and passport control introduced! Only joking on the last point but you get my drift
Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also? We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc.. I ask myself who pays for all this in those other countries?? It seems to me as though the "devolved" nations take all the goodies that a United Kingdom has to offer and then goes ahead and raids our coffers for even more..Please can some one tell me why I have to pay for things that my neighbours up the road dont have to? Where does the money come from?? Lets have a referendum for an independent England..We will soon see if it got a yes vote who would fare better.If the scots vote yes then Hadrians wall should be built back up and passport control introduced! Only joking on the last point but you get my drift Darloresident
  • Score: 1

4:32pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Racshade42 says...

Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.
Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up. Racshade42
  • Score: 22

4:34pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Bob Waugh says...

Interesting. Lamont being a lot more straightforward outside Sctalnd than she is within it.
This has been noted; are she and her buddies really so dim that they could not work out that it would be?
http://wingsoverscot
land.com/for-their-e
yes-only/
Interesting. Lamont being a lot more straightforward outside Sctalnd than she is within it. This has been noted; are she and her buddies really so dim that they could not work out that it would be? http://wingsoverscot land.com/for-their-e yes-only/ Bob Waugh
  • Score: 13

5:04pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Darloresident says...

Racshade42 wrote:
Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.
Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up..
[quote][p][bold]Racshade42[/bold] wrote: Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.[/p][/quote]Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up.. Darloresident
  • Score: -16

6:01pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Alistair J E Gray says...

Darloresident wrote:
Racshade42 wrote:
Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.
Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up..
Not so. You are confusing fiscal deficit with subsidy. The fact that Scotland runs a fiscal deficit in a given year does not mean the rest of the UK is subsidising Scotland. If the fiscal deficit in the rest of the UK is higher than in Scotland, then Scotland is subsidising the rest of the UK.

In 2009/10 Scotland's fiscal deficit was 6.8% of GDP, but it was 3% lower than England's, meaning that in 2009/10 Scotland subsidised England, as Scotland has done over the past 30 years or more.

See: http://www.newstates
man.com/blogs/the-st
aggers/2011/11/scotl
and-12288-union-publ
ic

And for a sophisticated, quantified analysis of the Scottish economy, I recommend the Business for Scotland website: http://www.businessf
orscotland.co.uk/10-
key-economic-facts-t
hat-prove-scotland-w
ill-be-a-wealthy-ind
ependent-nation/
[quote][p][bold]Darloresident[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Racshade42[/bold] wrote: Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.[/p][/quote]Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up..[/p][/quote]Not so. You are confusing fiscal deficit with subsidy. The fact that Scotland runs a fiscal deficit in a given year does not mean the rest of the UK is subsidising Scotland. If the fiscal deficit in the rest of the UK is higher than in Scotland, then Scotland is subsidising the rest of the UK. In 2009/10 Scotland's fiscal deficit was 6.8% of GDP, but it was 3% lower than England's, meaning that in 2009/10 Scotland subsidised England, as Scotland has done over the past 30 years or more. See: http://www.newstates man.com/blogs/the-st aggers/2011/11/scotl and-12288-union-publ ic And for a sophisticated, quantified analysis of the Scottish economy, I recommend the Business for Scotland website: http://www.businessf orscotland.co.uk/10- key-economic-facts-t hat-prove-scotland-w ill-be-a-wealthy-ind ependent-nation/ Alistair J E Gray
  • Score: 22

7:01pm Mon 14 Apr 14

Racshade42 says...

Darloresident wrote:
Racshade42 wrote:
Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.
Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up..
Even the most ardent unionist in Scotland will tell you that the idea of Scotland being subsidised is a fantasy. Occasionally some dimwit columnist in the South of England will bring it up. Type Scotland subsidy myth into google and actually look it up.
[quote][p][bold]Darloresident[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Racshade42[/bold] wrote: Darloresident for info all of the money spent in Scotland is raised in Scotland. Scotland's budget is 9.3% of UK public spending out of the 9.8% of UK taxation that is raised there. Nobody in England or Wales or NI pay for anything North of the border. The Scotland subsidy is a myth. You don't have to believe me. You can look it up.[/p][/quote]Nonsense - the 2009/10 figures produced by the Office of National Statistics show total revenue needed to service all Scotlands needs was 63 billion pounds.The total tax take in Scotland including North Sea oil revenue was 48 billion pounds.Westminster therefore subsidised Scotland to the tune of some 15 billion pounds.. You dont have to believe me you can look it up..[/p][/quote]Even the most ardent unionist in Scotland will tell you that the idea of Scotland being subsidised is a fantasy. Occasionally some dimwit columnist in the South of England will bring it up. Type Scotland subsidy myth into google and actually look it up. Racshade42
  • Score: 13

8:30pm Mon 14 Apr 14

JacksonGreenhorn says...

Please, please, please pay Joanne Lamont's drivel no heed! Check out her previous history of 'comments' on independence. The woman is a numpty!
Please, please, please pay Joanne Lamont's drivel no heed! Check out her previous history of 'comments' on independence. The woman is a numpty! JacksonGreenhorn
  • Score: 8

8:41pm Mon 14 Apr 14

goinghomesoon says...

Darloresident wrote:
Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also?
We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc.. I ask myself who pays for all this in those other countries?? It seems to me as though the "devolved" nations take all the goodies that a United Kingdom has to offer and then goes ahead and raids our coffers for even more..Please can some one tell me why I have to pay for things that my neighbours up the road dont have to? Where does the money come from??
Lets have a referendum for an independent England..We will soon see if it got a yes vote who would fare better.If the scots vote yes then Hadrians wall should be built back up and passport control introduced! Only joking on the last point but you get my drift
Darloresident wrote:
Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also? We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc.

Darloresident - there has been extensive arguments on some of the referendum sites about things like free prescriptions (some Scots feeling that public money is better spent elsewhere). It was convincingly proved by others that the cost of free prescriptions for all is more than compensated for by the avoidance of expensive means testing. Every country except England has drawn that conclusion. I can't begin to explain why England still has to pay for prescriptions, but I believe it comes down to Westminster ideology and not economics. I would whole heartedly support a parliament for England, and I truly hope a Yes in September will spur England onto demanding one.
[quote][p][bold]Darloresident[/bold] wrote: Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also? We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc.. I ask myself who pays for all this in those other countries?? It seems to me as though the "devolved" nations take all the goodies that a United Kingdom has to offer and then goes ahead and raids our coffers for even more..Please can some one tell me why I have to pay for things that my neighbours up the road dont have to? Where does the money come from?? Lets have a referendum for an independent England..We will soon see if it got a yes vote who would fare better.If the scots vote yes then Hadrians wall should be built back up and passport control introduced! Only joking on the last point but you get my drift[/p][/quote]Darloresident wrote: Please can England have a vote as to whether we want to be independent also? We do not have our own devolved parliament like Wales Northern Ireland and Scotland do - this means we are disadvantaged every time on things like free care for the elderly,free prescriptions,zero tuition fees etc. Darloresident - there has been extensive arguments on some of the referendum sites about things like free prescriptions (some Scots feeling that public money is better spent elsewhere). It was convincingly proved by others that the cost of free prescriptions for all is more than compensated for by the avoidance of expensive means testing. Every country except England has drawn that conclusion. I can't begin to explain why England still has to pay for prescriptions, but I believe it comes down to Westminster ideology and not economics. I would whole heartedly support a parliament for England, and I truly hope a Yes in September will spur England onto demanding one. goinghomesoon
  • Score: 20

9:41pm Mon 14 Apr 14

vroomfrondel says...

Ms Lamont said "I'm optimistic that hope will triumph over grievance." So, another vote for Yes then?
Ms Lamont said "I'm optimistic that hope will triumph over grievance." So, another vote for Yes then? vroomfrondel
  • Score: 11

8:51pm Tue 15 Apr 14

behonest says...

It seems a lot of jocks on here are happy to turn their backs on the UK because they think North Sea oil cash is all theirs for the taking. If there was no oil cash there would be a No vote, without doubt. Says it all really.
It seems a lot of jocks on here are happy to turn their backs on the UK because they think North Sea oil cash is all theirs for the taking. If there was no oil cash there would be a No vote, without doubt. Says it all really. behonest
  • Score: -6

8:23pm Thu 17 Apr 14

theWorkerScum says...

Shame the north-east can't join them. Can we have a vote?
Shame the north-east can't join them. Can we have a vote? theWorkerScum
  • Score: 1

6:40pm Sun 20 Apr 14

Home Rule for England says...

I'm sick of hearing about Scotland and we want this we want that. I just hope they vote YES and give us all a break.
I'm sick of hearing about Scotland and we want this we want that. I just hope they vote YES and give us all a break. Home Rule for England
  • Score: -1

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