News | Treasury secrecy around Block Grant must come to an end - Bradley

Treasury secrecy around Block Grant must come to an end - Bradley

Vice Chair of the Assembly Finance Committee and SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley has called for the British Government to end the culture of secrecy surrounding allocations to the devolved nations and allow each administration to full scrutinise Barnett calculations.

He said:

“The SDLP has called for an ambitious programme of investment and economic reengineering to provide a prosperity process for Northern Ireland. One of the key barriers to creating a fairer society in the North is that we continue to rely on subsistence from the British Treasury. But despite the vast majority of our spending power coming from the Block Grant, the Treasury veils its calculations in secrecy, meaning that no devolved nation is able to fully scrutinise the level of funding we receive.

“It is unacceptable that this technocratic, fundamentally secretive process should continue. The processes of government, especially relating to public finances, should be open to scrutiny. At a time of austerity, when the Tory government continues to diminish the resources available to the Executive, we must be assured that we are receiving our fair share. 

“We need a new mechanism for enhanced scrutiny of Treasury allocations and Barnett consequentials. The SDLP has also called for an advanced devolution commission, in the style of the Smith Commission in Scotland, to assess the scope for further devolution, including fiscal powers. That can only happen when we have all the information available, including a full breakdown of all allocations and reductions to the Block Grant.

“The Treasury must open the books and prepare for further scrutiny of its work. That is the very least we demand and deserve.”

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