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KENNEDY TO CALL FOR END TO BARNETT FORMULA

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Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, will today call for an end to the 'unfair' funding arrangements which...
Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, will today call for an end to the 'unfair' funding arrangements which give Scotland a greater share of public spending than some of the poorest regions of England.

The Daily Telegraph (p6) reports that Mr Kennedy will risk angering some of his supporters by backing calls for an end to the Barnett formula - a system which has resulted in Scottish public spending being worth up to 25% more than its equivalent in England.

He will also say that it is time to abolish the individual cabinet posts for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and replace them with a combined secretary of state for the nations and regions.

He will propose the creation of a finance commission to be chaired by the new minister, which would be charged with devising a 'revenue distribution formula' to replace the one drawn up by Lord Barnett when he was Treasury chief secretary in the early 1970s.

'The Barnett formula is out of date and unfair,' Mr Kennedy said last night. 'I am delighted that we are tackling the anomalies in the system. Why should some areas which are in dire need of central grants not get them due to an antiquated and arvitrart decision-making process?'
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