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Plaid Cymru MP slams Welsh Secretary ‘ignorance’ after he admits to not having known how Wales was funded

03 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Liz Saville Roberts by Richard Townshend (CC BY 3.0), and Simon Hart photo by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

A Plaid Cymru MP has slammed the “ignorance” of the Welsh Secretary after he admitted that before taking his post he didn’t know about the mechanism by which Wales is funded.

In an interview with Times Radio, Simon Hart said the Barnett Formula was something “nobody has ever heard of, really – me included before I took on this job”.

The Barnett formula is a mechanism used by the Treasury in the United Kingdom to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to the Welsh Government to spend in Wales as a population share of the money spent on England.

Simon Hart was asked by interviewer Matt Chorley why Wales deserved spending of £14,222 per head compared to England where spending was £13,666 per head.

Simon Hart answered: “It’s all a byproduct of this thing which nobody’s ever, ever heard of really – me included before I took on this job – which is the Barnett formula.

“And that’s designed to reflect the needs and backgrounds or social and cultural and economic backgrounds of the individual nations so that the nations England, Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland all get more money and England gets less.

“But that’s I hope, and always has been anyway a reflection of the fact that the economic, the large part of the sort of economic generating power of the UK based in London in the South East, and it’s quite reasonable, that that money is redistributed as evenly as possible across the rest of the UK and Wales.

And indeed, you know, Cumbria or Cornwall are beneficiaries of that spreading the wealth of evening, evening out the wealth that can be produced in the sort of in the big conurbations in England.”

Simon Hart had been an MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire for nine years before becoming Welsh Secretary in 2019.

Arfon MP Liz Saville Roberts reacted to say that it was “extraordinary” that Simon Hart would “admit to this level of ignorance”.

“Those in the know follow the money. Competence not an essential requirement in Secretary of State for Wales’s job description.”

Simon Hart was also asked why Mark Drakeford’s popularity in Wales was so high compared to Boris Johnson.

He answered: “Well I think it’s an unbelievably easy position to be in when you’re responsible for spending the money but you’re not responsible for raising it.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago

The tories literally don’t know their own jobs. Absolutely useless.

Paul
Paul
7 months ago

Saw on a YouTube video the other day Hart has taken Russia money.

Androw Bennett
Androw Bennett
7 months ago

As I have posted in various places, Hart has pretended over the years to be knowledgeable, while really being quite ignorant. The classic one was when he took the oath at the beginning of the current Wastemonster parliament in December 2019. He asked if he could swear on “the ordinary Bible”. I still await his explanation of what he meant.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
7 months ago
Reply to  Androw Bennett

…as opposed to the “extraordinary Bible”, perhaps?
Hart is an interesting combination of arrogance and ignorance.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

How on earth can you be an MP for Carm west and south Pembs since 2010 and not heard of the Barnett formula, has this man been asleep , has he even attended the commons. This is like a maths teacher never having heard of the seven times table, utterly mind blowing. This man has just exposed his total lack of respect to those who vote for him, and his utter contempt for the position he holds. No doubt in his defence he will be able to explain to constituents the funding model used by the Kremlin, to allow him… Read more »

Arwyn
7 months ago

So absolutely zero chance that he understands why the formula came to be or the underlying causes of Wales’ relative economic weakness. Does Simon Hart think that the economic construct of the UK simply plopped out of thin air, fully formed on the day of creation? Does he mistakenly believe that the London Core – all else peripheral model is simply irresistable and inevitable?

Probably.

Last edited 7 months ago by Arwyn
Andrew
Andrew
7 months ago

A greasy pole merchant who evidently does not know s#!t from shoe polish. Reading the Beeno would tax this fool.

Grayham Jones
7 months ago

Kick this idiot out of wales and all the English party’s

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
7 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

*Wales

BobSnail
BobSnail
7 months ago
Reply to  Carol Loughlin

It’s worth mentioning parties as well.

Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

Although I have never known the details I have been aware of the Barnet formular since I was a young adult. Perhaps he prefers Radio 1 to Radio 4 and Coronation Street to Newsnight? The Beano to the Torygraph?

One imagines he was equally shocked to hear that Dover was an important UK port.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
7 months ago

Hart versus Liz Saville Roberts. Easy win for Liz every time.

BobSnail
BobSnail
7 months ago

“I wonder if he is the right man for the job?”. Quote from The Goon Show.

Sally-ann Dwyer
Sally-ann Dwyer
7 months ago

Time to rid Cymru of these ignorant, self-serving Tories, and cut all ties with Londongrad.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Here’s a deal for you Hart…… You sod off to another country leaving your tax take behind you and we’ll go independent. We will never ever forget Westminster’s theft of our HST2 consequentials or the raid on our Aberfan fund.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
7 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

That’s a point that should be pushed until it sinks right into the concrete of the public mind.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
7 months ago

London spending per head = £15,490.
Scotland = £14,836.
Northern Ireland = £15,357
If the English have a grievance they need to take it up with London.

Last edited 7 months ago by Kerry Davies

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