Wales 'would be better off' if Scotland votes 'Yes' in referendum

Nicola Sturgeon will deliver a lecture on Scottish independence in Cardiff on Monday

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Wales could argue for fairer funding from Westminster if Scotland goes independent, the Scottish National Party's deputy leader says.

Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested Wales would be better off if Scotland votes for independence in September's referendum.

Both countries' devolved budgets are set in Whitehall by a system known as the Barnett formula.

The Welsh government claims it is short changed by the formula.

It has called for the UK government to replace it with a system based on need instead of population size.

Ms Sturgeon will deliver a lecture on Scottish independence in Cardiff on Monday - two years to the day that Scotland will become independent if a majority votes "Yes" in the forthcoming poll.

Start Quote

It would lead to a scenario in which Wales could argue for - in their view - a fairer funding arrangement with the Westminster government”

End Quote Nicola Sturgeon Scotland's deputy first minister

The Welsh government has been calling for reform of Treasury funding of the devolved nations since 2009 when its Holtham Commission said the Barnett formula deprived Wales of around £300m a year.

The economist who led the inquiry, Gerald Holtham, has said that reassessing the funding would disadvantage Scotland.

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales, Ms Sturgeon said: "I don't accept that Scotland gets treated particularly generously through the Barnett formula.

"And one of the big concerns we have in Scotland, if there was to be a No vote, is that we could see reform of the Barnett formula that would lead to significant cuts to the Scottish budget and that's something that would be of enormous concern in Scotland.

"I should say I completely understand that Wales and the Welsh government wants to argue their corner, but of course if Scotland becomes independent then we become financially independent - we raise our own taxes and we decide how those taxes are spent.

"And I think that is clearly in the interest in my view of Scotland but of course it would lead to a scenario in which Wales could argue for - in their view - a fairer funding arrangement with the Westminster government."

'No arguments'

She added: "Wales has to make its case on what it considers to be fairer funding

"The point I would make strongly is I don't accept the premise that Scotland is treated disproportionately generously through the Barnett formula.

"That's certainly not how it's felt in this time of cuts over the past number of years.

"We would be against any reform of the Barnett formula that led to a cut in Scotland's budget and clearly that's something that we would have to argue very strongly with the Westminster government.

"Of course it's absolutely right of the Welsh government to argue with Westminster that they need fairer funding but I don't believe that should be at the expense of Scotland.

"But I believe the best solution to this is for Scotland to be independent. There can be no arguments about Scotland's finances if we raise our own taxes and are responsible for our own spending decisions."

Sunday Politics is on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT on Sunday, 23 March

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