Banner

  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
Labour have been accused of staggering  ignorance over the way the Barnett formula works after the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland called for the Scottish Government to spend money it doesn’t even get.
 
This week Margaret Curran used a speech to the STUC women’s conference to launch an attack on the way in which receipts from the 4G radio spectrum auction will be spent in Scotland and demanded that the Scottish Government to make clear how it will spend its ‘windfall’.

According to newspapers, the Labour MP challenged the Scottish Government to use a 4G windfall to ease Tory cuts instead of building a "vanity project".

In a statement released to the media, Ms Curran referred to apparent extra funding and said: “Will [the SNP] use it to take the edge off the worst of the Tories’ cuts that Labour is fighting at Westminster? Or will they waste it on a vanity project?”

Ms Curran launched the attack against the SNP despite two parliamentary questions on the matter, one by a party colleague that same day, making clear that the Scottish Government will not automatically see any increased spending.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question in October by Northern Irish MP Nigel Dodds, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “The Barnett formula applies to public spending allocation, not to general government receipts.  Therefore no Barnett consequentials will arise from the sale of the 4G spectrum licence.”

This was confirmed by Mr Alexander last Monday after a second Parliamentary Question was lodged by Ms Curran’s Labour colleague David Hamilton MP who asked: “what effect the revenue generated from the forthcoming auction of the 4G mobile telephone spectrum will have on the block grant for Scotland?”

4G technology was made available to consumers in 10 UK cities, including London, Cardiff and Glasgow on October 30th.  A reserve price of £1.4bn has been set for 4G which is to be auctioned by the broadcast watchdog, Ofcom.  Ms Curran predicted that the auction would raise between £2.5 billion and £4 billion and that Scotland would get a proportionate share.

Describing the Labour MP as “foolish”, SNP MSP Maureen Watt said:

“Not for the first time, Margaret Curran failed to let the facts get in the way of her rush to attack the SNP and was left looking foolish as a result.

“The fact of the matter is that Scotland will not automatically receive a share of the coming 4G auction, so the very basis of her attack was absolute nonsense.  As Shadow Scottish Secretary, you would have hoped Margaret Curran would actually know how the Barnett formula works!

“In fact Margaret Curran actually revealed one of the independence dividends she is so keen to conceal.  If Scotland was currently independent, the Scottish Government would of course receive the money raised from auctioning 4G rights in Scotland.

“The Labour party’s enthusiasm to attack does them absolutely no credit.

“Their consistent failure to accept the genuine limitations of the current system only undermines the standard of debate in Scotland and falls far short of the standards people in Scotland expect from their elected representatives.”

Under the Barnet formula Scotland, along with the other devolved nations, can only receive funding as a result of spending in England. 

However, spending south of the border does not always result in extra funding, as the London Olympics demonstrated after it was deemed ‘UK wide investment’ instead of English only by the last Labour government - the original cost eventually spiralled from £2.4 billion to almost £9 billion.

A deal was eventually reached that saw a £30 million package go to the devolved nations of which Scotland received £16 million.

Comments  

 
# src19 2012-11-18 02:48
I think Curran should apologies for misleading STUC women’s conference. Fat chance of that happening.
 
 
# bodun 2012-11-18 13:50
At least SLAB are providing a model for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney as he tries to explain away his failure...
bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# hadrianswall 2012-11-18 02:57
Curran represents the calibre of Scottish Labour these days. Therefore, there is only one direction for Scottish Labour. Oh bring on.
It on.
 
 
# Gartmore 2012-11-18 11:43
I agree that there is only one direction for the Labour Party in Scotland (Scottish labour hasn't existed since the mid-20th century) and that is Labour for Independence: at least Allan Grogan has the right idea and from it may arise a Scottish Labour Party fit, not just for opposition but also for government.
 
 
# stewart kellett 2012-11-18 03:40
Why let the truth spoil a good story.
 
 
# fred56 2012-11-18 07:46
Alex Salmond Apologised when he was wrong. this mp never will, even when they are wrong and make up stories they believe they are always in the right. as for vanity projects, pfi comes to mind. wonder if they will ever say sorry for that.
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-11-18 08:18
Curran = Ignorance = Bliss.
 
 
# Macart 2012-11-18 08:25
The fact there has been no apology from Ms Curran suggests she was well aware of the effect of her speech. Just another highly publicised attack on the SNP with no highly visible retraction. I seriously doubt there will be any retraction at all. All the members will remember will be an attack on the SNP Scottish government.

Even giving Ms Curran the benefit of the doubt for simply having made a crass error, I doubt she has either the courage or humility to volunteer an apology.
 
 
# alexb 2012-11-18 09:31
Quoting Macart:
The fact there has been no apology from Ms Curran suggests she was well aware of the effect of her speech. Just another highly publicised attack on the SNP with no highly visible retraction. I seriously doubt there will be any retraction at all. All the members will remember will be an attack on the SNP Scottish government.

Even giving Ms Curran the benefit of the doubt for simply having made a crass error, I doubt she has either the courage or humility to volunteer an apology.

Thats exactly what I,ve been saying about "mud slinging", Macart. Some of it will stick, mainly because there is never any apology, or if there is, it isn,t reported. And this is only the start. The full weight of very powerful organisations will be ranged against us over the next two years, and they won,t be bothered if it,s the truth, or not.
 
 
# Macart 2012-11-18 14:43
alexb

Like all fabrications, they have to keep it up over that two year period. They'll trip over their own feet and contradict themselves, watch this space. Its going to be as long a two years for them as it will for us and I know who's going to make the bigger mistakes. :)
 
 
# call me dave 2012-11-18 10:12
Here's a laugh:

Labour throwing the toys out the pram.

But no such restrictions on Ms Curran then
-----------------------------------

Labour demands action at Scottish Parliament.

The main opposition party has written to presiding officer Tricia Marwick calling for action, claiming that the SNP’s majority in the single-chamber parliament has allowed them to “close down” scrutiny, and is “undermining” political debate.

Labour’s business manager, Paul Martin, is asking Marwick to work with the party leaders to come up with a new code that is ­“independently enforced and compels ministers to be ­honest and accurate in the chamber.

He said: “We should come together as a parliament and ask whether we can do better for the people we are elected to represent.”

scotsman.com/.../...
-----------------------------------
 
 
# Taighnamona 2012-11-18 10:32
So, having worked behind the scenes to skew the Scottish parliament set to ensure that there could never be an SNP majority, these 'losers ' now want to turn centuries old parliamentary tradition on its head...or in the case of the Scottish parliament, our initial dirty trick didn't work, please give us another chance.

Think they are sending a clear message that they expect to lose the independence vote; the next general election vote and everyone after that....what part of the people have spoken do they not understand?

...Sorry, realise I went off topic there...almost agree with the main article except to say I think Margaret Curran is beyond foolish and the labour party in Scotland is beyond redemption.
 
 
# Breeks 2012-11-18 10:23
The likes of Curran and Lamont are in part the product of the media, which fails to scrutinize their political integrity and lack of ability. It's a depressing indictment of Scottish Politics that such people progress to senior positions. It really makes you wonder how and why they do.

Personally, I believe such bland people, so desperately lacking in both imagination and charisma, are a big factor in why so many normal people find politics so tedious and uninspiring.

We are too accustomed to banality and mediocrity in our politicians. Their reputation for dubious conduct and ephemeral integrity poisons the mix and I am positive keeps many better and more imaginative people out of politics and government altogether.

I hope an independent Scotland raises the bar much, much higher and we have positive and aspirational leadership.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-11-18 11:15
Softly, softly - catchee monkey.

Two years they have to sustain these lies without contradicting themselves. Alistair Darling contradicted himself in his 'Johnny Cope' speech in Prestonpans. Lamont and Bailey can't keep their own lies on the straight and narrow and are all over the place - we dinnae want Trident but maybees aye we do, amongst other lies. As long as they keep attacking Wee Eck they are missing their real target - Yes Scotland. The problem with attacking 'Yes Scotland' is which head do they attack?

Dennis Canavan as chair, Patrick Harvie, Pat Kane, Nicola, Blair Jenkins and the rest of the board of Yes Scotland. To attack Dennis as chair is to attack the flag bearer for traditional Scottish Labour 'values', attack Blair Jenkins as CEO and you are attacking the folk who are non aligned, attack Wee Eck and it is like water off a duck's back. Curran is just pushing the failed too poor, too wee, too stupid line - they have nothing else left.
 
 
# From The Suburbs 2012-11-18 12:15
Not entirely O/T but Sunday Herald is carrying an advert for Editor of the three newspapers .

Applicants are invited in first instance to submit their vision for the newspapers.

Don't all rush at once.

GMS on Radio Scotland yesterday morning rubbished claims by George Foulkes and others about incidents of senior college staff being bullied by Scottish Government.
 
 
# jjmac 2012-11-18 13:01
Lady Curran...Baroness Curran...Lady Lamont.. Baroness Lamont...Oh dear maybe this will not happen if the nasty nationalists get their own way.
 
 
# FREEDOM1 2012-11-18 16:03
How about Lady Lamont of Stairheid
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-11-18 13:45
Incompetent Margaret Curran aspires to be the next Secretary of State for Scotland,residi ng in Dover House,Whitehall ,London,one of the nicest and luxurious Government residences in the city.
Not if we have anything to do with it.
Vote YES to independence in 2014 and she'll no be getting anywhere near Dover Hoose!
 
 
# bringiton 2012-11-18 14:44
The Barnett formula was implemented in the late 1970s to try and pacify Scots while Westminster was making use of our oil and gas revenues to
pay off debt (sound familiar) and for various infrastructure projects in the SE of England.
This method of funding will cease after the referendum vote.
Either we will have total control over our income or we will have a new settlement based strictly on a per capita calculation.
This formula has been deeply unpopular with the economically challenged regions of England as it favours Scotland at their expense (as they see it).
Which ever way we look at it,sticking with Westminster funding of our public services will mean not only a reduction in line with their cuts agenda but also the dismantling of the Barnett formula which will mean even less money being available.
Those who are thinking of voting No in the referendum must consider this.
After 2014 things are going to change one way or the other.
 
 
# km 2012-11-18 15:08
Curran should be stairheidin' Westminster on this, not the Scottish government. While her compatriot Danny Alexander smugly admits that millions of pounds worth of Scottish asset will be sold with the proceeds going straight to London. Again.

Maybe the Better No Campaign would like to start a public discussion with the regions of England on changes to the Barnett formula?
 
 
# sid 2012-11-18 16:27
sorry but it was not a mistake it was a calculated news release calculated because all nationalist's no that curran doesn't have the capacity to write a speech along with all her colleagues she relies on spin doctors etc to write statement's for them. the unionists know that anything entitled "labour party press release " will make it do the telly and radio headlines without being checked for accuracy .

sid
 
 
# src19 2012-11-18 17:05
The marketing of 4G by EE has humours overtones. theregister.co.uk/.../...

I would say that someone has made a right 4GEE of themselves as regard to this story.
 
 
# ButeHouse 2012-11-18 19:07
MPs: ARE THEY STILL AT IT?
Dispatches 8pm Monday (just seen it advtsd)

The Westminster gravy train rolls on and Ms Curran and others are fighting for it to stay that way.

Thus the screaming desire to attack the SNP and YES at every opportunity. Thankfully a rushed attack is often a botched attack as Ms Curran has ably demonstrated and these botches are being noticed by the public.

VOTE YES
 
 
# Alathia 2012-11-18 19:33
"According to newspapers, the Labour MP challenged the Scottish Government to use a 4G windfall to ease Tory cuts instead of building a "vanity project"."

Well we know all about Labour vanity projects, especially the half billion one called Holyrood.
 
 
# src19 2012-11-19 00:13
Don't forget the other big spend Labour vanity projects Millennium Dome, Edinburgh Trams (with their unionist buddies the ConLib's) and probably the Olympic Games will eventually be added to the list of many.
 
 
# rhymer 2012-11-18 23:32
I wonder how the BBC or any of the major print media will manage
this piece of news.
A/ Ignore it completely.
B/ Say it was a misprint in the Barnett formula.
C/. Tell us that 4G will be delayed until Labour get elected
and THEN we will get a share.
 
 
# Early Ball 2012-11-18 23:42
Certainly A unless the SNP bring it up in a live interview.

However this is a good case in point.
If Curran cared about her constituents she would be joining force with the Scottish Government to demand Scotland's share of the money.

Sadly this is not the case. Labour's hatred of the SNP takes precedence over the well-being of the people who voted for her.
 
 
# Deewal 2012-11-19 02:10
ButeHouse: "Thus the screaming desire to attack the SNP and YES at every opportunity. Thankfully a rushed attack is often a botched attack as Ms Curran has ably demonstrated and these botches are being noticed by the public."

No they are not being noticed by the public. They are being noticed on here and other Indy Blogs.
The public only know what they read in the newspapers and see on the TV which have Unionist bias.
 

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.

Banner

Donate to Newsnet Scotland

Banner
Banner

Latest Comments