Thursday, 13 September 2007

Hey big spender?

Next month, Chancellor Alastair Darling will announce the Government's spending plans for the next few years.

In Wales, much public spending is decided by a population linked formula, you know - the one named after Joel Barnett.

Spending per head in Wales has traditionally been higher than in England, although many Welsh politicians argue that the formula doesn't reflect the country's relative poverty.

My BBC Scotland colleague Brian Taylor suggests the Treasury has been playing hard ball in the run up to the spending review and that far from making Barnett more generous the settlement for the devolved governments may be tighter.

Of course, the UK Government could just be lowering expectations to head off demands for a more generous settlement, but it's certainly a twist that will raise eyebrows west of Offa's Dyke as well as north of Hadrian's Wall.

Alternatively, the new "Scottish Government" may be getting its retaliation in first ahead of the spending review's conclusions.

Isn't life grand now the age of spin is no more?

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