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On St Andrew's Day, Boris wants extra investment in London as the price for the capital's subsidy of Scotland

This has been coming for sometime. Boris Johnson today launches his campaign for London to get a fairer share of the tax revenues it generates.

The Mayor of London makes the call in his Telegraph column. He insists there is nothing anti-Scottish in his demand. He declares that he loves Scots and Scotland.  "On this St Andrew's Day," he declares, "the Saltire is flying proudly outside City Hall."

But he then launches his attack on the Barnett formula - an "amazing political antiquity" - which sees money transferred from London, in particular, to Scotland and other parts of the UK:

"The English taxpayer sends about £20 billion every year to Scotland as a kind of present. This famously helps to give the Scottish parliament the financial autonomy to do some things that are deemed unaffordable in England – such as free university tuition, certain anti-cancer drugs and free nursing care for the elderly.  This system is the subject of all sorts of Scot-bashing polemics, but seems unlikely to be fundamentally reformed because, after all, we have a Union and it is right that the richer parts of that Union should help the poorer parts. The real question, and the one on which I would like our beloved Scottish Prime Minister and Chancellor to focus, is how come we can afford to pay the Barnett formula? Where does the money come from? I will tell you. It comes from London. There are only three regions of the UK that make a profit, in the sense of contributing more to the Treasury than they receive in spending, and they are London, the South East, and the East; and London is the powerhouse that drives the other two, with a net tax export estimated at £19 billion per year."

Boris stops short of calling for London's money back but he wants the Treasury to pay for infrastructure projects such as Crossrail.  A better deal for London is essential, he implies, if the capital is to continue to pay for the rest of the UK. London's Mayor calls for investment in infrastructure to be paid for by future tax revenues.

Tim Montgomerie


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