Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has been accused of letting the cat out of the bag when it comes to the Barnett formula, after stating on Sunday Politics Scotland that “there will be no action taken on Barnett until the economy has stabilised again”.
With his cabinet colleague Chancellor George Osborne recently claiming that his economic policies were delivering “certainty, stability and competitiveness” and that the UK was on a “path for prosperity”, it is clear that the Westminster Government already believes the economy has stabilised – putting scrapping the Barnett formula firmly on the agenda.
The Holtham Commission in Wales previously indicated that scrapping the Barnett formula could see Scotland's budget cut by £4 billion in a single year, a move that would have a devastating impact on communities across Scotland.
On the same programme, Alistair Carmichael was also unable to guarantee that the UK will still be in the EU by the end of this decade, confirming that the biggest threat to Scotland's membership of the organisation comes from remaining part of the Westminster system.
Commenting, SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing said:
“Alistair Carmichael has well and truly let the cat out of the bag with his comments on Barnett and Europe.
“With his colleague George Osborne claiming that he has delivered stability and that the UK is on a 'pathway to prosperity', then clearly moves to scrap the Barnett formula in Westminster are at hand – which would result in Scotland's budget being cut by billions of pounds.
“As if that wasn't enough of a gaffe, Alistair Carmichael also confirmed that the biggest threat to Scotland's membership of the EU comes from Westminster with his inability to say whether the UK would be part of the EU at the end of the decade.
“Once again we are seeing No campaign politicians saying one thing in Westminster and something else when they're speaking to Scotland.
“Scotland already contributes 9.9% of UK tax revenues but receives 9.3% of public spending and has contributed more per head to the Treasury than the UK average in each of the last 32 years.
“The moves afoot to scrap Barnett in the event of a No vote show that the dismal future on offer to Scotland would see our budget cut by billions of pounds, disadvantaging Scotland even further under the Westminster system.
“Only a YES vote for Scotland to gain full responsibility over our tax and spending decisions will ensure that people in Scotland get a fair deal and that all of our own resources are put to work to benefit people in Scotland.”