Funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Contents


HM Treasury is responsible for operating the funding framework for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for calculating the funding attributable to each nation. Initial funding allocations are based on the funding the devolved administrations received in the previous year, plus a population-based share of funding for changes in planned UK government spending. HM Treasury uses the Barnett Formula to calculate these changes. As part of this, it compares the functions and services provided by UK government departments with those provided by the devolved administrations, assigning comparability factors to each UK government department and its spending programmes depending on the extent that their services are devolved.

When there are changes in the UK government’s plans which increase spending in England for services and activities devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, additional funding is allocated to the devolved administrations. Ministers also allocate funding directly to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, such as the funding provided for City Deals. But these direct allocations of funding, which are made outside of the Barnett formula, do not trigger changes in funding for England or other nations.

Spending per head on public services varies significantly across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2017–18, spending per head in Northern Ireland was highest at £11,190 per head, followed by Scotland at £10,881 per head and Wales at £10,397 per head. England is lowest at £9,080 per head.

Published: 26 July 2019