“If Stormont returned tomorrow morning the budgetary cake will not
get any bigger and will still have to be sliced between same number of
departments. The primary problem is not a lack of Stormont, it is a
lack of money. That is a decision made by Treasury.
I have been warning for some time that the Barnett Formula used for
divvying up the budget for the UK regions is unfair to Northern Ireland
and will continue to get even worse in coming years. There needs to be a
complete reform of the funding model.
The Treasury contribution to fund public services in Northern Ireland
is going down rather than rising. As an example, in England up to 2025,
spending will increase by 6% but only 3.6% in Northern Ireland.
The cost of providing public services for a small place is more expensive than a large one. We don’t benefit from economies of scale or critical mass. To provide vital services, we need a disproportionately larger public service, and for as long as we receive 3% of what England needs under the Barnett formula, we won’t and don’t get enough."