Ex-minister Lord Barnett dies at 91


Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Labour former Cabinet minister Lord Barnett has died aged 91, his party has said.

He was the Treasury chief secretary in the 1970s who devised the system for allocating public spending to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that came to be known as the Barnett formula.

The formula has remained in place, despite Lord Barnett’s arguments that it was a temporary fix and ought to be reformed as it now produces unfair results.

Labour leader in the Lords Baroness Royall said: “Joel was an extraordinary individual.

“As an MP, minister and colleague in the House of Lords, to the very end he was diligently holding the Government to account and doing his best to ensure the best for the people of this country.”

Lord Barnett’s daughter Erica said he died peacefully at home on Saturday morning after a short illness.

She said he retained his interest in politics during his illness and “the last words he spoke to me were about the European Union budget”.

The upsurge in interest in the Barnett Formula following the Scottish Referendum – and the “vow” by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to retain the system – had provided a “great boost” to him, she said.

Ms Barnett said: “The Barnett Formula thing during the Scottish referendum was a great boost to him, because he was able to say what he had been saying for a long time to anybody who would listen, but this time people were listening.

“He had the chance finally to tell people just why he thought it was not only unfair but undemocratic.”

Published: Monday 3rd November 2014 by The News Editor

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