“The effect is to circumvent not only the Barnett Formula but the devolved governments themselves.”

(c) Getty

Tory government actions: “The effect is to circumvent not only the Barnett Formula but the devolved governments themselves.”

– concludes a new report from Fraser of Allander Institute and Institute for Fiscal Studies

By stewartb

Brexit and the UK Internal Market Act are key factors in the Westminster government making far reaching changes to the devolution settlement. Despite best efforts by Scottish Government ministers and some bloggers, the wider electorate in Scotland could be forgiven for being blissfully unaware of the extent of change underway especially if they consume their news only from the corporate media and BBC Scotland.

But the truth of the situation is very different. Just how different is revealed in a new report on government funding of the responses to the Covid pandemic in the devolved nations of the UK. And these insights come from a study undertaken by no less than the Fraser of Allander Institute and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Source: Bell, Eiser and Phillips (2021) Designing and funding the devolved nations’ policy responses to COVID-19. Fraser of Allander Institute report, 22 April 2021. (https://fraserofallander.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Designing-and-funding-the-devolved-nations-policy-response-to-COVID-19.pdf  )

We learn that the Tory government has established new funding streams including: (i) the Levelling Up Fund; (ii) the Community Renewal Fund; and (iii) the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (part-replacement for EU regional development funds). The authors state all this marks a significant change in fiscal relationships between the UK government and the devolved governments.

Crucially they explain: “… funds will ostensibly be allocated on the basis of ‘needs’, but the assessment of what constitutes ‘need’ has been developed by the UK government without consultation with the devolved governments.  This approach has been made possible by the Internal Market Act which provides a new means for the UK government to allocate spending in the devolved territories to areas which had previously been thought to be the purview of the devolved governments.

The authors are clear: “The effect is to circumvent not only the Barnett Formula but the devolved governments themselves.”

They note that it remains unclear how the main Shared Prosperity Fund itself will be allocated. However, the Community Renewal Fund and Levelling-up Fund “further extends the role of competitive bidding processes controlled by the UK government in the devolved nations and replace it with a transactional, deal-making approach to regional assistance in which local authorities across the whole of Great Britain compete for funding.” Given all that’s happening in Westminster politics nowadays, a ‘deal-making approach’ is hardly one to inspire confidence!

The report adds: “In the absence of co-operation agreements, the devolved nations may be anxious that this will undermine their activities and authority in economic development and associated policy areas, and potentially lead to overlaps or mismatches between schemes“ – this is to put it very mildly!

End note

These are hardly the actions of a political party in government inclined towards federalism – or even towards more devolution of powers. These signal a political strategy – a political philosophy – based on aggressive Unionism!

12 thoughts on ““The effect is to circumvent not only the Barnett Formula but the devolved governments themselves.”

    1. Time after time I state on here that England is already technically bankrupt
      And when we leave then they well and truly bankrupt and will require IMF assistance
      Who in turn will demand
      1.Be rid of trident
      2.End State pensions
      3.Sell off NHS
      4.At least 25 yrs of the severest austerity
      Because England will no longer have the
      38% Of UK assets that Scotland has
      Thereby no good collateral for IMF loans
      You bet your bottom $ behind closed doors the English Elite and powerful
      Are discussing how they can ever possibly avoid such
      So in their desperation anything is possible
      Never ever in English history have they have to confront such a perilous scenario
      Know thy Foe
      And this one is a very seriously wounded Bear

      Liked by 1 person

  1. They can also bring Scotland into line with English privatization directing government money to private companies while cutting what’s available for the Scottish government to spend on the NHS etc

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Not unionism but ein reich,ein volk,ein fuhrer.
    The present bunch of Tories just finishing off what was originally intended by the Treaty of Union.
    The end of Scotland as a threat to their rule in these islands.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No surprise they have been doing this for a long time but are scaling it up vastly.

    Englands westminster will ask Scottish local authorities to privatise aspects of their services
    If the councils do as asked they will be given money and will then be forced to say it was all a resounding success councillors will be on BBC STV SKY and in the newspapers praising the resounding success and praising the tory government

    If the councils refuse , they just wont get the money and the BBC STV SKY and the newspapers will put out stories ( not news ) saying the council botched it by imposing political beliefs ahead of better services

    But there is worse to come , its the Scottish NHS and the Scottish education system they really want to cripple

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Internal Market Act does not only indicate the Tories are intent on re-defining the British constitution in a manner that diminishes Scotland’s legal capacity to govern itself, it’s an open attack on the practice of judicial review, so an attack on the principles of constitutional democracy.


    “….But it would be wrong to think that opposition to the legislation ended with the changes to Part 5 or with the Bill becoming law. Indeed, Royal Assent to the Bill was given notwithstanding that both the Scottish Parliament and the Senedd Cymru withheld their legislative consent over the implications of the legislation for the exercise of devolved competence.

    In this post I explore what concessions the UK Government gave during the parliamentary process and why it seems likely that both the Welsh and Scottish Governments will seek to test in the courts the implications of the legislation for the devolution statutes.”


  5. The sooner the Tories are voted out and Scotland is Independent the better. The Scottish Gov will have to have a close watch at what is going on. The Tories are corrupt criminals and Brexit is a disaster.

    Too much is going south to pay for the Tories total mismanagement and misappropriation. Bad, poor policies. The Tories support is already going down. Where is the Labour opposition. Nowhere to be seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, the Tories are NOT going to be voted out in England and, thus the UK government will continue to be Tory dominated. Labour has proved itself intellectually and morally bankrupt and the Starmerite wing is simply trying to restore the Blair/Brown Thatcherism with a pretend smiley face on it.

      So, we need to leave the UK.


      1. “the Starmerite wing is simply trying to restore the Blair/Brown Thatcherism with a pretend smiley face on it.”

        Whilst wearing a Red tie, White Shirt and a Blue suit.
        A political uniform often worn by many Tories.

        Politicians in Germany used to wear uniforms


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