REVIEWING BARNETT A MAJOR CHALLENGE IN WELSH POLITICS

23/10/2014

The Barnett Formula has never been a topic of everyday conversation in the streets and pubs of Arfon.  But the need to reform the system that decides how much public money the Treasury allocates to Wales has never been more urgent. It would go some way towards softening the effect of the austerity measures that are crippling our services.

Last week the Welsh Government announced a savage cut in the money made available to local councils. Gwynedd will have to find savings of £45m on top of those already made. One victim is the lack of evening buses from Bangor to the Llanberis and Ogwen Valleys which is causing so much hardship.

Everyone including its author, Lord Barnett, agrees that the Barnett Formula is unfair to Wales, because it is based on population rather than need. There is a consensus in the Assembly that it should be reformed. Yet all parties in London have refused to act on this while in power.

This is unlikely to change, because those parties pledged to keep the Barnett formula, in the stampede to buy a No vote in the Scottish independence referendum. This will be one of the major challenges in Welsh politics in the coming months.