Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 17:54 UK

'Arbitration' move at UK summit

Petrol pump, oil rig and 2012 London Olympics logo
Alex Salmond raised issues of revenues and funding

First Minister Alex Salmond said there were "signs of progress" in the relationship between Scottish ministers and the UK government.

He was speaking after a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee - the body made up of ministers from Westminster and the devolved administrations.

Mr Salmond said they had agreed there should be a new mechanism for arbitration in financial disputes.

There have been a series of disagreements over funding.

Tax revenues

Rows between Westminster and Edinburgh have involved money for the 2012 Olympics "short-changing Scotland" and soaring oil prices benefiting the chancellor.

The Scottish Government said spending on the Olympics in London falls outside the Barnett Formula for allocating shares of spending across the UK, so does not see knock-on extra funds going to the devolved administrations.

It also argued that Scotland should benefit from higher North Sea oil tax revenues.

In most cases, if the Treasury says no, then that remains the answer.

But Alex Salmond and his counterparts from Wales and Northern Ireland believe what they have won at the first meeting of the JMC for six years is a recognition of a need for an arbitration system.

The meeting was chaired by UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

Both sides said the meeting was "courteous and frank".




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