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CALL FOR CHANGE TO UK'S 'FISCAL CONSTITUTION'

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In response to warnings of an English backlash over unequal spending on devolved regions, there is a call for a new...
In response to warnings of an English backlash over unequal spending on devolved regions, there is a call for a new fiscal constitution to defend redistribution of wealth in The Guardian (Society, p10).

Michael Jacobs and Gavin Kelly of the Fabian Society say concerns about the Barnett formula are increasingly being voiced by English MPs.

Devolution make its inevitable that the question of autonomy over spending and taxation should follow, they argue. The same will be true for London and any future regional assemblies.

'What is needed is a compromise between the principles of decentralisation and redistrivution which recognises some regional autonomy but also supports UK-wide redistribution. There can be little doubt ... that this will mean revising the Barnett formula.'

One solution suggested is to carry out a new 'needs assessment' of the different nations and regions of the UK, determining public expenditure allocations on the various criteria of 'need', as already happens with local government.
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