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Lord Dean of Beswick: I am puzzled as to why we are talking about amendments on what financial assistance or entitlement will be received by Scotland when the Scottish parliament becomes fact. It does not exist yet, but as I understand the situation, people already know what they will get before the parliament has been brought into existence. In my opinion, that is a peculiar way of legislating. One only has to look at Hansard for Tuesday 14th July to see repeated in your Lordships' House the Statement on the Comprehensive Spending Review. Col. 133 states:
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: Will the noble Lord allow me to intervene? I have one question on what he has been saying. Does he appreciate that the increases in the Barnett formula are based on spending in England? That is why it is not mentioned.
Lord Dean of Beswick: The reference is not only to the Barnett formula; we are talking about financial issues in general. The key figures are given at paragraph 22.4 on page 93 of the Comprehensive Spending Review:
It has not been negotiated, it is a handout which is already known. I wonder why we are going through all the business of trying to introduce separate amendments. For the life of me, I cannot see any Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom altering major decisions which are taken on the basis that amendments of some kind may arise. I just wonder what the situation is.
Over a period, as is probably known by those who are interested in the Bill, I obtained a league table. I have not brought it with me because I am hoping to speak more at length when we reach Report stage. By then we will know in detail what is emerging from the Statements to which I have just referred. At present, we do not know. At that time I may be able to find out what will be paid to the different services in the English regions.
I believe that the announcements made today or those to be made tomorrow in relation to the English regions will have come into being and they will be de facto. The chairmen of those regional councils will want to know how big a share of the cake they will receive once they know what Scotland is receiving. They would be doing less than their job if they did not ask for a better comparison than we see in the figures before us.
In relation to every item of spending, if we take it on a per capita basis, Scotland does infinitely better than England. Wales does better on a lower scale, but the biggest difference pro rata is Northern Ireland, and there are specific reasons for that. Let me give some examples. I received some figures today. I tried to obtain them from the Treasury some time ago but was sidelined each time I asked for them. In fact, the cost of obtaining them was disproportionate to what they uncover. However, I asked some researchers to look into the situation.
We all know that there has been a lot of antagonism, especially between Scotland and the northern counties of England just across the Border. I wanted to know how much money was being provided to buy jobs-- I say "buy" jobs--for north of the Border. Finally, I obtained these figures--they are the Government's figures--from the Library. We are not talking about peanuts. They show that, in development areas,
When I hear Members of your Lordships' House on the other side asking for a bigger share of the cake, as somebody from the English regions looking at these figures I say, "Not on your life. I think you are doing very well as it is". If we look at the figures produced in your Lordships' House some time ago--for instance, per capita spending on tourism--in England it is £20 a head and in Scotland £5,000.
Those figures are beyond belief. I do not know what formula produced them, but it is amazing to me that it has been allowed to happen. And they are not my figures. The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, referred to some figures in his speech. But the known fact is that, under the present system, the total spending per capita in Scotland above the total spending per capita in England is £871 per head, which is a lot of money. According to the headlines in one of the Scottish newspapers, the new deal that was announced a few weeks ago in the spending review gives the Scottish people £800 per head out of that. That makes the difference even more, unless the Government are going to pump a substantial amount of money into the English regions. I do not want to take any of the money back from Scotland, but I do not want Scotland to have a £1,600 advantage over England in the payments it receives from the Treasury.
Lord Dean of Beswick: The noble Earl draws a strange conclusion. What happened in Mosside has nothing to do with the people in Mosside; it is to do with ethnic people who have come over here and settled there in an attempt to make a home. We are dealing with people who have been established in England without variation and without specific problems.
The Earl of Mar and Kellie: I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Does he accept that the spending in Scotland is part of the Treaty of Union in which Scotland was asked to trade its sovereignty for economic advantage.
Lord Dean of Beswick: If the noble Earl could say that Scotland had traded in its sovereignty when 60 per cent. of the United Kingdom Cabinet comes from north of the Border, there would be some relevance in it. Three out of the four Ministers at the Treasury who
I believe--and I am making the point--that if all this money is going to be made available to Scotland (I have just quoted the figures from the Chancellor's report and there are substantial increases) we must keep an eye on the situation. The facts will emerge. Once the regional assemblies come into being, the people on those assemblies representing Yorkshire, Lancashire and other areas will want to know what is in it for them; how far will they be able to go in developing areas?
It is well known that one of the most deprived areas in terms of unemployment south of the Border is the North-East. Its average input from the Government per job is just £3,000 and in Scotland it is £8,000. Let us try to tell the people in the North-East that they are getting a good deal and that the Barnett formula is working. They will tell us to go and get stuffed, to put it crudely. That is what will happen. They are starting to wake up to the situation.
The Government are aware of the position. I do not intend to do anything about the amendments, but I shall watch the situation when we come back for Report stage. If amendments need to be tabled, there may be some anti-Scottish elements in them from looking at the figures because Scotland is doing a hell of a sight better than any of the regions in England on any of the figures produced.
The Earl of Onslow: The noble Lord opposite has shown the glory of old Labour. The faces of his colleagues on the Front Bench were wonderful to behold as he spoke pure, unadulterated common sense. What he said is so obviously true; that is, that this unbalanced, block formula will do nothing other than cause anguish between England and Scotland. And anguish between England and Scotland is something that I, as a Unionist, English by geography and British by nature, find deeply offensive and terribly worrying. That was perfectly well illustrated by the intervention of the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, who simply did not understand the Act of Union one tiny bit, even though his forebear signed it.
In this Bill we have either gone too far or we have not gone far enough. If we are to allow the Scots to have their own money, they should raise it themselves. Or they should not have it at all. What we cannot do is have a "Damascus tailor" argument over the block grant and the irritation, the hassle, the disaster and the increase in hatred--that is exactly the word I intended to use--between the English and the Scots, which to me would be the most tragic thing that could possibly happen. The noble Lord has just said from the Benches opposite exactly what I feel. He may be shaking his head, but I promise your Lordships that he did. He did it wonderfully, and I thank him.
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