PLAID Cymru have written to the UK Government to call for an end to the “outdated” Barnett Formula.

The party has urged the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, to review and replace the mechanism which used by the Treasury to calculate annual block grants for devolved nations.

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, wants the UK Government to use the Spring Budget next week to introduce a system that delivers more equitable funding for Wales.

It comes after the party’s leader Rhun Ap Iorwerth told The National he would like to work with the SNP to make funding for devolved nations fairer across the UK.

The Barnett Formula was introduced in the 1970s and calculates funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland based on population size as well as the range of public services in each nation.

READ MORE: Rochdale by-election in numbers amid record-breaking Labour loss

It calculates devolved budgets by using the previous year’s budget as a starting point, and then adjusting it based on increases and decreases in comparable spending per person in England.

But the system is often called out for not meeting the needs of each nation, with Scotland’s former finance secretary Kate Forbes calling Scotland’s fiscal framework a “straitjacket” in December.

During her appearance at the Covid inquiry, Forbes also highlighted how the Barrnett Formula “couldn’t bear the weight of an emergency”.

She said the systems in place simply did not provide the Scottish Government with the guarantees required to plan their pandemic response in the most efficient manner.

The National:

Plaid Cymru have insisted the Barnett Formula is open to political manipulation and is not transparent given that when funding announcements are made in England, it may take months to find out how much Barnett consequential funding devolved nations will receive.

Saville Roberts (above) said: One thing that is in the gift of this Government is the need for so many of our problems to be solved via fair funding. This requires reviewing and replacing the outdated Barnett Formula with a system that delivers equitable funding for all parts of Wales.

READ MORE: Rochdale: George Galloway overturns Labour majority in by-election win

“There are several reasons why the formula must be replaced. Firstly, it doesn’t address our needs. Secondly, it isn’t clear or transparent. When funding announcements are made in England, it may take weeks or months to find out if and how much Barnett consequential funding Wales will receive.

“Thirdly, we all know the formula is open to political manipulation, with Wales being robbed of at least £3.9 billion through the HS2 funding fiasco.

 “Looking ahead to the Spring Budget, I would hope that the Government would show they are intending on tackling the deep structural problems that Wales faces, although I’m not going to hold my breath.”

Plaid Cymru say Wales’ funding floor is not based on the nation’s current level of assessed need, but rather on estimates made by the Holtham Commission in 2010 that drew from 2001 Census data.

For Wales, problems with the formula were laid bare when the UK Government scrapped the northern leg of HS2 last year.

The initiative was regarded as an “England and Wales” project” with the assertion there would be benefits to parts of Wales including reduced journey times when the £180bn project reached Crewe.

But in the end, with the northern leg ditched, opposition politicians argued Wales missed out on £5bn in rail infrastructure investment having received no Barnett consequentials while Scotland and Northern Ireland did.

Forbes argued in December that the UK Government’s block grant is still “the most critical element” of Scotland’s Budget.

She said: “Remember what is spent on health/education/transport in England is what generates the funding for Scotland. It’s not based on need, it’s based on Tory choices.”