Former Conservative MEP David Bannermen said such a review would reveal how important the mechanism – known as the Barnett Formula – is to Scotland and the UK. Mr Bannerman tweeted: “I am appealing to Rishi Sunak, Steve Barclay and HM Treasury for an urgent immediate review on Barnett Formula – not to scrap it, as the SNP wants – but to show just how vital it is to Scotland and the UK.”
The Barnett Formula is used by the Treasury to automatically adjust the amounts of public money handed to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England.
The payments would not longer be made if Scotland left the UK but the SNP argue they would be able to support their public services without central Government funding by selling North Sea oil.
Critics point out that oil prices have drastically declined and the world is now moving towards a greener future.
Writing on the the Foxhole website, Mr Bannerman said: “I propose Rishi Sunak initiates a fast review by an independent economist of the Barnett Formula.
“Not to get rid of it – that is in no way a Conservative policy – but to understand how valuable, indeed essential, these British Union support payments are to Scottish healthcare: 25 percent of the NHS budget, Scottish schools – a similar figure, Scottish local government and transport, and to UK pensions paid in Scotland.
“This is not widely known and this doesn’t even include the extra £10 billion or more Rishi Sunak has graciously sent Scotland in addition to this for additional Covid support.
“The SNP have made it clear they do not want the Barnett Formula support from Westminster.
“Their former MSP Andrew Wilson, an economist, set it out very clearly in his Sustainable Growth Commission report 2016, which the SNP Finance Spokesperson Kate Forbes sat on as an adviser.
“They regard ‘intra-regional transfers’ – Barnett Formula adjustments – as humiliating it seems, and unnecessary.”
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Mr Wilson had said: “Some effectively argue that lower growth within the limited large country model of the UK system is a price worth paying for the security and ‘certainty’ of the funding of the fiscal deficit. We disagree, fundamentally.
“The UK is not working. Fiscal transfers locks in structural inequality and ensures that poorer parts stay poorer.”
Ms Forbes had said: “Because the UK growth model is unsustainable and Scotland can do better than simply subsist on inter-regional transfers.”
He continued: “She will win the next election in Scotland but the difficulty then is, of course, here in London, in Westminster for Boris Johnson will be how will he behave when she tries to have what is called a wildcat referendum on Scottish independence.
“And what will be the Westminster Government attitude towards that?
“Boris Johnson has already said he will do nothing to allow that to happen but in a sense, this will be a big marker in the sand.
“My personal view is that we should stop sending the Scots the money they get from the Barnett formula for a year to get a feel how it will be outside the UK and see how they like that.”
— to www.express.co.uk