Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Barnett formula change not planned, says Cameron

David Cameron
Image caption David Cameron said changing the Barnett formula was "not on the horizon"

A change to the Barnett formula is "not on the horizon", according to David Cameron.

The prime minister made the comment in a letter to First Minister Alex Salmond in which he attacked the SNP's plans for independence.

Mr Cameron said independence was "the only immediate threat to Scotland's funding".

Nicola Sturgeon said he had "let the cat out of the bag" by admitting there were no guarantees on funding.

In response to a letter from Mr Salmond asking about the implications of a "No" vote in next year's referendum on Scotland's finances, Mr Cameron wrote: ''Your request for guarantees in perpetuity about the future is quite astonishing; I can no more bind future UK governments than you can bind future Scottish governments.

"What I can say is that reform of the Barnett formula is not on the horizon.

"Indeed, the only immediate threat to Scotland's funding is a vote for independence."

'Uncosted proposals'

In an interview in 2010, when asked about future funding for Wales, Mr Cameron said the Barnett formula was "coming to the end of its life".

Elsewhere in the letter Mr Cameron criticised the Scottish government's White Paper on independence and its "uncosted proposals".

Image caption Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Westminster parties were "determined to slash Scotland's funding"

Voters in Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September 2014, and will be asked the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Cameron's comments showed Westminster was "determined to slash Scotland's cash" in the event of a "No" vote.

She added: "David Cameron has finally let the cat out of the bag.

'No guarantees'

"He has admitted he is unable to give any guarantees on what will happen to Scotland's budget in the event of a "No" vote - despite demanding absolute guarantees on every aspect of a future independent Scotland.

"His comments give the game away completely because it is what is just over the horizon that people should be concerned about, and the PM himself is on record as saying Barnett is 'coming to the end of its life'.

"The Westminster parties are determined to slash Scotland's cash in the event of a "No" vote, by up to £4bn a year, and only a "Yes" vote will prevent that."

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Cameron did not have "the courage" to debate issues around independence openly.

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