The Barnett formula raises all sorts of questions about how public spending is distributed around the UK. But we should think twice before abandoning itby John McTernan / November 13, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
Listen to a recording of a Prospect roundtable on this topic featuring John McTernan below:
The Barnett formula: for many years, no one cared about it. It sounded like something from 1066 and All That: “The Barnett formula. Choose to (a) Paint it in the style of Picasso; (b) Describe it in the language of Finnegans Wake; (c) Express it as a function of π.” Now, though, in certain circles at least, it’s being widely discussed—if no more understood.
I recently chaired meetings held by the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat party conferences. The topic was how to revive the regions by removing the dead hand of the state. It was a provocative subject and created a lively debate among all the parties. Each had their own emphasis. For Labour, it’s about the nort…