Joel Barnett, Baron Barnett

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Joel Barnett, Baron Barnett, PC (14 October 19231 November 2014), was a Labour Party politician. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the late 1970s, he devised the Barnett formula that allocates public spending in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Daily Telegraph obituary, 3 Nov 2014[edit]

  • Your arguments are overwhelming. You’re obviously right — and the answer is No.
  • As chief secretary, I was having a terrible time doing what I didn’t go into politics to do — cutting public expenditure. And I was having meetings with every departmental minister about their budget. They all wanted more money — Tony Benn and Barbara Castle more than most. I decided that I could get rid of three Cabinet ministers — the secretaries of state for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — if I could settle on a formula for their budgets. So I set up this method for allocating public expenditure that the Cabinet then agreed to.
    • Explaining the origin of the Barnett formula.
  • The real problem is that now no politician wants to tackle it. The Barnett Formula saves people trouble. It saves prime ministers worrying. That’s the way with politics… Here we are, about to make the wrong decision again.
  • We know that you have a very arduous duty ahead of you. We hope you enjoy the best of health; if you go on looking as attractive as you do tonight, it will be very beneficial.

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