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Sinn Féin demands end of Barnett Formula

7 January, 2004

Sinn Féin Anti-Poverty Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton has welcomed comments from the architect of the Barnett Formula, that is used to work out the block grant allocated to the Six Counties, that the formula is out of date, is not based upon need and called has for a replacement of the formula to ensure that we get a fairer block grant that reflects the levels of need that exist here.

Ms Stanton said:

"Poverty is a key issue in the Six Counties. Nearly 40% of our young people live in poverty and young families, particularly lone parent families and our elderly all face significant level of risk in terms of living in poverty. Clearly we have failed to define a strategy for tackling and eradicating poverty.

"I welcome the comments from the architect of the Barnett formula, that is used to allocate our block grant and therefore determine our overall level of expenditure, that the formula does not reflect need and should be replaced. Sinn Féin have consistently argued that the Barnett formula is unfair and that it fails to recognise the levels of need that exists here. It was Sinn Féin that insisted that a challenge to the Barnett formula was included in the Programme for Government.

"Within a number of departments we have already carried substantial work to define need through the Needs and Effectiveness Evaluations. It is time for the Barnett formula to go. Direct rule Ministers must continue with the commitments in the Programme for Government that Sinn Fein secured.

"In essence the Barnett formula means that in successive budgets we have received a smaller increase in expenditure than we need. If you factor in the levels of poverty here and the geographical and social profile of the Six Counties we are getting a very bad deal from the British Exchequer. If we are going to tackle poverty then the resources we have available must reflect the real situation on the ground. This is not a sterile debate about numbers it is about the human face of poverty and the impact it has on people's lives." ENDS

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