Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Research says support growing for English Parliament

England flag
Researchers said English voters felt ignored by the devolution process

Support for an English Parliament has grown from 18% to 29% in the past 10 years, according to a survey.

The poll shows the trend is matched by a rise in the number of people in England who feel Scotland receives more than its fair share of UK public money.

Out of 980 people questioned by think tank the IPPR, 40% now feel the system is unfair, compared with 22% in 2003.

The IPPR said English people were "increasingly frustrated" with "the impact of the devolution settlement".

The research was carried out by the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research and NatCen, a social research institute.

Just under half of those polled said England's laws should continue to be made at Westminster.

Barnett formula

Prof John Curtice, who wrote the report, said that if the trends continued, politicians "may no longer be able safely to assume that England can be ignored in the devolution debate".

Politicians from all sides have ducked the issue of how England should be governed
Guy Lodge, IPPR

"It is too strong to speak as yet of a widespread English backlash, but the research does suggest there has been a marked growth in resentment about the level of funding that Scotland enjoys," he said.

Associate director of the IPPR Guy Lodge said whoever won the next general election they would need to address the growing concerns of English voters.

"Politicians from all sides have ducked the issue of how England should be governed for too long and it seems that English public opinion is becoming increasingly frustrated," he added.

The amount of Westminster money allocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is calculated by the Barnett formula.

It is based on population not need, and critics say it subsidises devolved administrations at the expense of English taxpayers.

In May last year, MPs on the Commons' Justice Committee called for a review of the formula, saying it "lacks any basis in equity or logic".

The call was reinforced two months later by a Lords committee, which called it "arbitrary and unfair".

The Scottish Government has argued for full fiscal autonomy, and said the flow of resources was from Scotland to the London Treasury rather than the other way round.

The English Democrat party, which campaigns for an English Parliament, polled just over 250,000 votes at the European Parliament elections in June 2009, coming seventh across England as a whole.



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