"There is no link between the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian question"
The response to my letter to Mark Harper.
Thank you for your email of 3 November 2010 addressed to the Minister for Constitutional Reform in response to his letter of 11 October to Norman Baker MP about the Government’s plans to establish a commission to consider the West Lothian question. As one of the officials in charge of this area of policy I have been asked to respond and I apologise for the delay in replying.
There is no link between the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian question. The Barnett Formula is the method by which the Treasury allocates funds to the Devolved Administrations and full details of the formula are set out in the Treasury publication Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly: Statement of Funding Policy. The Statement of Funding Policy is available on the Treasury website: http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_fundingpolicy.pdf
The Formula is not reliant upon the legislative process of the Westminster Parliament; many spending allocations are made well in advance of the necessary legislative powers being taken by Parliament. A good example is that in the last Spending Review, the government allocated funds for the high speed rail link to the north even though many of the legislative aspects were yet to be considered by Parliament.
The Government has stated that any review of the Barnett Formula must await the stabilisation of the UK’s finances. In addition it is worth noting that any such review will be done with the full consultation of the Devolved Administrations.
As you are aware the Government announced that it will establish a Commission to consider the West Lothian question. We are giving careful consideration to the timing, composition, scope and remit of the Commission. Its work will need to take account of our proposals to reform the House of Lords to create a wholly or mainly elected second chamber, the changes being made to the way the House of Commons does business and amendments to the devolution regimes, for example in the Scotland Bill presently before the House. An announcement will be made in the New Year.
I should like to thank you for your interest and I hope this reply reassures you of the Government's commitment on this matter.
Constitutional Reform Group
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I'm the proud owner of a letter from Mark Harper, in which he states "There is no link between the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian question".
Yesterday he wasn't daft enough to put such a view on the Hansard record:
Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed,
IPPR Press Release
Future of England in a devolved union can’t be decided by expert commission
79% of English voters want Scottish MPs barred from votes on English only laws
Ahead of the launch of the UK Government’s West Lothian Question Commission ...
Not content with the brush off he received in response to his earlier question, Lord Stoddart has again raised the subject of an English parliament:
Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written St
Dear Mr Arnold,
Thank you for your response. Your statement that "There is no link between the Barnett Formula and the West Lothian question" is wrong.
The following paragraph, lifted from a letter I received from your colleague Kam Samplay (Constitut