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Williams slams Treasury non-answer on Barnett

December 16, 2009 4:46 PM

Commenting on the Government's response to the Lords Select Committee onthe Barnett Formula, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State forWales Roger Williams MP has blasted the Government's failure to back an eeds-based replacement for the Barnett Formula.

The Lords Committee suggested an allocation system based on theAustralian Grants Commission, but in response the Government said:

We note the Committee's views on the desirability of establishing anindependent UK Funding Commission, notwithstanding the potentiallysubstantial costs of establishing and running such a system, butcurrently have no plans to set up such a body.

Commenting, Roger Williams said:

"We've waited months for this response, and yet the best the Governmentcan come up with is 'No, but we're not going to tell you why.'

"The Committee put forward a serious proposal on a needs based system,and yet this has been dismissed without any reasoning whatsoever, whichfrankly is an insult to all of those who have worked hard to put theCommittee's Report together.

"It's no secret that the Treasury are determined to carry on withBarnett, but having been repeatedly and comprehensively informed of thefunding gap faced by Wales, we should expect a lot more than a shruggingof the shoulders.

"Along with Peter Hain's flawed funding scheme, this inspires noconfidence that we will get a full and constructive response to Holtham,let alone a solution that would give Wales the funding it deserves.

"The Labour Government are clearly worried that an independentallocation system would deliver rational and not political judgements onfunding for Wales. The Government has dismissed the idea preciselybecause it makes too much sense."

ENDS

Notes:

Government response is available here.