Since 2015, Wales has had what’s often called a “fiscal floor” or “funding floor”, which means that for every £100 spent in England per capita each year, about £115 would be spent in Wales (though that figure sometimes varies).
The floor is basically like a kind of guarantee that funding will keep up with the level of need.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Alliance’s Stephen Farry told MPs Stephen Farry “it probably is, structurally, the biggest challenge facing Northern Ireland’s funding over the decades to come, so I think that it is something that needs to be top of the pile for discussions”.
He added that “Northern Ireland is potentially losing out on between £300 million and £400 million per year due to the assessment of need”.
Carla Lockhart of the DUP told MPs in the same session that “I think in Northern Ireland we get £1.21 for every £1 spent in England, despite our assessed need of £1.29”.
Following Thursday’s news of the spending gap, Alliance finance spokesperson Eoin Tennyson said: “The Secretary of State has previously inferred that overspends have arisen as a result of Executive mismanagement.”
But the latest overspend “on his watch… is clear evidence that such an argument has no basis in reality”.
Mr Tennyson added: “NI’s public finances are on a dangerous trajectory. What is urgently required is a fiscal floor, building upon the experience of the Welsh Government, to ensure our block grant cannot dip below our level of relative need.”