Olympics – the funding disgrace continues…

We (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) asked for £300m in Barnett consequentials of East End of London regeneration spend in the run up to the Olympics.

The formal complaint was heard this week – the result – the case is just but we can’t afford to go back so here’s £30m to shut up. Astonishingly BBC Wales describe our share as a £9m windfall!

Alan Trench knows a bit better. Writing for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Alan says:

….. the Labour UK Government redefined the nature of spending on the London Olympics during the 2007 Spending Review, so as to exclude the spending on regeneration of the wider Olympic area as for the benefit of the UK as a whole rather than for England.  If it were ‘English’ spending, as all other regeneration funding is, it would have triggered such consequentials.

Andy Burnham made this decision when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, to avoid a potential over-run on the costs of the Olympics. The result was to deprive the devolved governments of several hundred million pounds of funding, which became a long-standing source of grievance for them.
The new protocol on dispute avoidance and resolution agreed in April 2010 was framed in response, and the issue of the Olympics consequentials was the first one referred to the new disputes resolution panel of the Joint Ministerial Committee, which met to consider it in October 2010, under Francis Maude’s chairmanship. All three devolved administrations took part in that complaint, and in order to agree a common position adopted £330 million as the value of the missing consequentials. I’m told that this involved a substantially lower figure for Wales than the Welsh Government thought it should receive.

 

And:

This means the devolved governments have compromised a claim of at least £330 million for about £30 million, less than a tenth of the sum, which they thought they should get. In fact, the amount lost by the devolved governments is more than that – if the amount allocated in the SR 2007 period had been allocated at the proper time, it would have been added to the baseline of the block grant and so resulted in further increases in subsequent years. Effectively, they have forgiven UK Government for their claims for the way the Labour government handled the matter, and limited the claim to changes made to Olympics funding since the UK Coalition took office.

I’m astonished at the lack of political response to this scandal. Any reaction from over with you?

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  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    There’s been an anonymous statement from the NI Executive

    Working together through the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive have reached agreement on an inter-administration dispute concerning the application of the Barnett formula to funds set aside for regeneration and transport within the budget for the Olympics Games in 2012.
    ~ Thursday, 22 December 2011

    Their cut of the £30.2million is £5.4million (rounded to the nearest £100,000).

  • Pete Baker

    I would add, however, that the devolved administrations haven’t ‘lost’ anything.

    They never had the claimed £330million in the first place.

  • Cynic2

    Dewi

    I am sorry but a typical Welsh whinge! The Olympics are being held in the London area. This is just money-grabbing. Wales and NI

  • Cynic2

    Dewi

    I am sorry but a typical Welsh whinge! The Olympics are being held in the London area. This is just money-grabbing. Wales and NI already get more than their fair share and need to be careful that the English don’t get too fed up with that. This money isn’t needed and they shouldn’t have been given a penny

  • Dewi

    It’s straightforward Barnettised spend that was stolen from us. The gesture proves that the Treasury were in the wrong in the first place. Not fixing retrospectively is criminal.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    “It’s straightforward Barnettised spend that was stolen from us.”

    Rubbish.

    Ask yourself this.

    Where are the planned olympic-related capital projects within the devolved administrations needing funding?

  • The whole point of nationalism (and I speak as a nationalist) is to find division and exploit it. This is true of Wales, Scotland and Norn Iron.
    Luckily for nationalists we never have to look far for English/”UK” stupidity……or to put it another way we need something about which to whinge and Westminster will always provide a reason.
    Nationalisms worst nightmare is an English/”UK” regime that is actually considerate to the point of undermining nationalism.
    Therefore we actually rely on this kind of thing to fuel the flame.
    I think most “unionists” in Scotland, Wales and certainly “our wee country” would have loved more involvement in the whole London Olympics event.
    Unionists/Lets Get Alongerists in Norn Iron would have positively drooled over a single Volleyball game involving Mongolia and Lesotho or a single Olympic Handball game between Guinea Bissau and Haiti being played in Cullybackey and Helens Bay but its not going to happen.

    Time for a celebratory whinge………in Crossmaglen……Oban and Caernarfon…….but there would be more real whinging if the English/”UK” Parliament actually gave little cause for a whinge.

    Nationalists in Scotland, Wales and Norn Iron can be content in the knowledge that the Olympics will be a disaster…….and money………and its distribution will be at the heart of it.
    Not just money going to the “regions” but the peculiar insanity that millionaires will make a fortune out of it. And poor people will be encouraged to act as volunteers.
    I can hardly wait for the Fiasco to begin.

  • Dewi

    “Where are the planned olympic-related capital projects within the devolved administrations needing funding?”

    Strange Pete – you obviously have no comprehension of how Barnett works. It’s not hypothecated.

  • Cynic2

    Dependency culture writ large.

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    “you obviously have no comprehension of how Barnett works”

    Instead of assuming that I don’t, assume that I do.

    And note that Barnett hasn’t been applied.

    the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive will receive a one-off sum equivalent to the Barnett formula consequentials of relevant changes to Olympics funding since the present UK Government took office in May 2010. [added emphasis]

  • Dewi

    Nope Cynic. Just trying to apply the rules fairly.

  • We are in a recession and people have to be prepared to take a “hair cut.”

    So we should all welcome the fact that the Scots, Welsh and Norn Irish have to lose a bit of their Barnett.

  • Barnshee

    “Nope Cynic. Just trying to apply the rules fairly”.

    WTF should ther gombeens in Wales Scotland and NI get MORE money? The “rules” are alredy unfair to England amd the Taxpayer

  • Cynic2

    Dewi

    Ah yes. The rules. Dependency on the rules

  • The point is that greedy selfish bastards in London take money from the poor in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the north of England.

    It is time to tax Londoners higher for their damage to the environment, instead of subsidising people (e.g. through expensive commuter trains and the tube) to live in an overcrowded corner of the country.

    The aim should be to depopulate London, spreading work around the country, just like in Germany.

  • Pete Baker

    Dave

    “The point is that greedy selfish bastards in London take money from the poor in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the north of England.”

    Nothing has been ‘taken’. The opposite, in fact.

    And “the north of England” wasn’t even involved in this dispute.

  • Reader

    Dewi: It’s straightforward Barnettised spend that was stolen from us. The gesture proves that the Treasury were in the wrong in the first place. Not fixing retrospectively is criminal.
    So if Cardiff had received say 1 billion pounds from central government funds for the Cardiff Olympics, how much should England, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have received under the Barnett formula for ‘straightforward Barnettised spend’? (Is ‘Barnettised’ a word, yet?)

  • Dewi

    Eh let’s look at this rationally. This is re-generation spend not sport related. Such spend has Barnett consequentials as the JMC decision recognises.

    The analogy is that if you found out your bank had been paying you 3% interest instead of 10% for the last 10 years and agreed to pay just one year’s 10% in full settlement.

    Pete – your quote supports this entirely – to avoid a fair settlement the Treasury are just paying the Barnett consequentials of post Labour Government spend. Either the case is just or not. If so this is theft – if not don’t pay nowt surely?

  • Cynic2

    Whinge whinge whinge whinge

    Grasp grasp grasp grasp

    They got some so we want some too

    Time to stop this nonsense

  • Dewi

    Er Cynic – till Barnett is replaced that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Stop it by all means – but surely while it exists apply it consistently.

  • Barnshee

    “here’s £30m to shut up”

    That`s small change to the Treasury and applies equally to the NI Assembly where Treasury used the same system to buy off this generation of “troublemakers” with Assemby posts and perks

  • Dewi,

    The Barnett Formula is not legally binding. It has been adopted as a “rule of thumb” or device for calculating the amount of the block grants since the 1970s.

    That is all it is. A device. There is no right to go to a court of law to challenge a decision which deviates from it, only a political right. There is nothing unreasonable with you putting forward your argument.

    However, if you say that the decisiion is unfair, it is perfectly reasonable for opponents to point to the fact that NI, Wales and Scotland have, for decades, enjoyed a greater share of non-UK fiscal resources than England.

    It is that counter-argument which makes your choice of words: “disgrace” or “scandal” look rather ridiculous. Your argument won’t cut any ice with the average Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman or Welshman.

  • Dewi

    Ok – SM – use the mechanism or don’t, if u do use it fairly.