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Binning Barnett Should be a Top Priority for Government - Welsh lib Dems

2009 Hydref 28 1:00 PM

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Roger Williams MP has today urged the Prime Minister to begin making arrangements to replace the Barnett Formula with a needs-based assessment, after reports released in the summer confirmed that Wales is losing out on funding under the current system.

Mr Williams has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for the controversial formula to be replaced by a needs based assessment, and has written to the Prime Minister to urge him to take urgent action on fair funding for Wales.

The initial review of the Holtham Commission found that Wales is losing out on £300 million every year, and be denied up to £8.5 billion in the next decade under average spending growth.

The House of Lords Select Committee set up to look at the Barnett Formula recommended in their report that it was time for the formula to be replaced with one based on need.

Commenting, Roger Williams said:

"Holtham and the House of Lords have blown the 'be careful what you wish for' argument of Welsh Labour and Conservatives out of the water, and they must now respond to the overwhelming evidence that Wales is not getting a fair funding settlement.

"We have been banging on about the unfairness of Barnett for years, but now there is clear agreement from independent observers that Wales is losing out, the other parties must make their positions clear, so that people in Wales know what their vote means for public services in Wales.

"Holtham's initial review found that Wales is losing out on £300 million every year as a result of the inadequacy of Barnett, a significant sum given that the Welsh Assembly Government faces huge cuts to their budget because of Labour's economic mismanagement in Westminster.

"The Prime Minister should make introducing a needs-based formula one of his top priorities, and if he won't David Cameron must make it clear that he would scrap Barnett if the Conservatives form the next Government in Westminster."



Text of Roger Williams's EDM:

EDM 2162



Williams, Roger

5 signatures

Llwyd, Elfyn

Opik, Lembit

Williams, Mark

Willott, Jenny

That this House notes with concern the findings of the Holtham Commission's first report which suggested that Wales is under-funded by £300 million every year under the Barnett Formula; further notes that the House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula has proposed the creation of a Funding Commission that would recommend the allocation of public monies on the basis of need; acknowledges that only a funding settlement based on need to replace the Barnett Formula can provide an equitable solution; and calls on the Government urgently to review the Barnett Formula with a view to replacing it with a needs-based assessment.