Campaigners for regional government have stepped up their call for a better deal for deprived areas in the North- East.

New Government figures underline how Treasury rules on public spending favour Scotland over many of the English regions.

A major pressure group demanded that the planned Green Paper on regional government, expected in the summer, tackled the widely-criticised Barnett Formula, which allows more money to be spent per head north of the border.

John Adams, spokesman for the Campaign for the English Regions, said "The formula is a political fix which was put together in 1977. It has nothing to do with the needs of the people."

A breakdown of the latest Treasury statistics shows that public spending last year was £4,837 per head in the North- East, compared with £5,271 in Scotland. The UK average was £4,453.

This means that spending in the North-East was £434 less per head than in Scotland. Given the regional population of 2.5 million, an extra £1,085,000,000 would have to be spent in the North-East to keep up with Scotland.

Mr Adams added: "No one can have any confidence that these decisions are fair - we need to replace the Barnett Formula."