Fiscal Commission reinforces Barnett Formula failure

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has said that figures from the Northern Ireland Fiscal Commission highlight once again that funding for public services in Northern Ireland continues to fall below the level of need. He said this reinforces that the Barnett Formula is not working for Northern Ireland and that funding for public services should not be allocated on a simple per-head calculation.

By Gavin Robinson MP

Belfast East

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The DUP MP said, “I have warned for some time that the Barnett Formula is not working for Northern Ireland and the Fiscal Commission has again highlighted that the Treasury contribution to public services in Northern Ireland is going down rather than increasing whilst need is increasing.

Pointing to levels of spend per head in the UK doesn’t work when the funding does not meet the needs that public services have to address. Public services are there to address needs, and everyone will understand the difficulties in attempting to address increased needs with reduced funding. These conflicting pressures will create even greater challenges on public services than we see currently, and ultimately must be addressed.

Previous assessments calculated that funding in Northern Ireland needed to be 21% higher than equivalent spending in England whereas that figure is now estimated to be around 24%. We want to see the Assembly restored on stable foundations, but this ‘Barnett squeeze’ will impact any future Executive and is entirely outside the control of local Ministers.

Instead of playing politics with public services and our budget There must be a recognition that sustainable local decision-making will require sustainable funding from Treasury alongside necessary reform and planning locally to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.”

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