In a letter to The Herald (p19), Professor Midwinter asks: 'Where is the evidence that the existing allowances for poverty, which are derived mathematically from statistical evidence of causality, are inadequate?
'Secondly, why has he applied these allowances selectively, ignoring the significant numbers of people in poverty in those authorities not favoured with a special allowance?'
Prof Midwinter continues: 'His rhetoric would be more credible if his government had a better record on local government finance. While its own budget has been allowed to grow by 2% per annum in real terms, its grant to local authorities next year will, by its own calculation, be some£54m less than the level inherited from the Conservatives in 1997-98.
He concludes: 'I hope that Liberal Democrat members of the executive will join their colleagues who are opposing the settlement, to deliver an equitable system for all authorities.'