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Barnett Formula creator and former Treasury chief Lord Barnett dies

Lord Barnett was the Treasury chief secretary who devised the system for allocating public spending to Scotland.

UK Parliament. Flickr. Free to use under Creative Commons
David Martyn Hunt

Former Labour cabinet minister Lord Barnett has died aged 91, the party has announced.

Lord Barnett was the Treasury chief secretary who devised the system for allocating public spending to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which came to be known as the Barnett formula.

The system has remained in place since the 1970s, despite Lord Barnett arguing that the formula was a temporary fix.

Lord Barnett called for the system to be reformed, saying the formula produces unfair results.

Lord Barnett's daughter Erica said he died peacefully at home on Saturday morning after a short illness.

She said he retained his interest in politics during his illness and "the last words he spoke to me were about the European Union budget".

The upsurge in interest in the Barnett Formula following the referendum and the "vow" by leaders David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to retain the system provided a "great boost" to him, Ms Barnett said.

She added: "The Barnett Formula thing during the Scottish referendum was a great boost to him, because he was able to say what he had been saying for a long time to anybody who would listen, but this time people were listening.

"He had the chance finally to tell people just why he thought it was not only unfair but undemocratic."

Labour leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Royall, said: "Joel was an extraordinary individual. As an MP, minister and colleague in the House of Lords, to the very end he was diligently holding the Government to account and doing his best to ensure the best for the people of this country."

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Image copyright David Martyn Hunt and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License.

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