SNP MP Pete Wishart has warned that Scottish MPs are being increasingly left out of the debate on government spending because they have been denied the opportunity to discuss the impacts of decisions made in Westminster on Scottish budgets.
The MP and SNP Shadow Leader of the House of Commons was today ruled ‘out of order’ during a parliamentary debate on estimates (government spending) after he attempted to bring up the critical 'Barnett consequentials' which provide a large part of the Scottish budget.
Barnett consequentials is the mechanism used to ensure the devolved administrations receive a sum which is proportional to any supplementary spending in England. Recent flooding in the north of England which saw the UK government announce funding of £100m, resulted in a consequential payment to Scotland of around £9m.
In the debate on English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), the Leader of the House said all issues of 'Barnett consequentials' were bound up in the estimates (government spending) process.
Pete Wishart MP said:
“The SNP was looking forward to debating the important issue of the estimates - which has a knock-on effect in Scotland on our education and health service - only to be ruled out of order.
“English votes for English laws created two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons and created the situation where Scottish MPs can’t properly consider the ‘Barnett conseqientials’ on legislation branded English only. We were invited to look at the estimates procedure to discuss these issues but today we have been told that we can’t even discuss it there.
“Scottish MPs are now totally left out when it comes to considering the Barnet consequentials- we are left with no place to go in order to have a proper debate on this critical part of the Scottish budget. This is a consequence of the dog’s breakfast that is EVEL, and a sad inevitability about the flaws inherent in these proposals.
“We must have the opportunity in Westminster to debate and vote on Barnett consequentials for Scotland and this must be the last time that Westminster puts forward a debate on estimates in this way.
“Changes in Westminster departmental spending hits our health service and our education- Westminster is so in need of reform if the only place we can’t discuss estimates and government spending, is on the ‘estimates debate’ day.”