Wales politics

Ed Miliband defends Barnett formula

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Media captionEd Miliband said the Barnett formula was 'oriented towards need'

Labour leader Ed Miliband has defended the spending formula used to decide changes in the Welsh government's budget despite claims it leaves Wales under-funded by £300m.

But his shadow Welsh secretary said it could be adjusted to benefit Wales.

Discussions continue around further devolution in the UK following Scotland's vote to reject independence.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for a "fair share" of Treasury funding and more power in matters like energy.

On the opening day of his party's conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband told the Andrew Marr Show the Barnett formula is "oriented towards need" but critics have said it based on population rather than need and leaves Wales £300m worse off.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith told the Sunday Politics Wales programme a UK Labour government would look to close the gap by adopting a "Barnett plus" formula.

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Media captionPaul Silk, chair of a commission on Welsh devolution, says any extra powers given to Scotland should also be considered for Wales

Mr Smith said he wanted to see the Welsh government responsible for 15% of income tax if the people of Wales voted in a referendum to devolve tax-varying powers.

'Immensely complicated'

The major UK parties have promised to examine the prospect of further devolution for all the UK nations in the wake of the Scottish referendum.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: "In Scotland, Ed Miliband's party told voters they would secure their extra £4bn of funding through the Barnett formula, even though this means that Wales loses out by more than £300m every year - cut from our health service and our schools."

The first minister has previously called for wide-ranging talks on devolution within the UK, including more powers for regions of England.

Mr Jones told BBC Radio Wales on Saturday it was a "better fit" than a policy of "English votes for English laws" in the UK Parliament, as proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The first minister said it would be "immensely complicated" to determine which laws only applied to England.

"It's either a parliament where all the MPs are equal or it's not," he added.

Former Labour first minister Rhodri Morgan has said Wales should be "rewarded, not penalised" for not putting the UK "through the mincer" of a vote on independence.

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