CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE: Norfolk and Suffolk’s unfair funding deal will become “less relevant” as Scotland gets more powers - William Hague

William Hague addresses the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham for the last time before he

William Hague addresses the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham for the last time before he steps down as an MP at next year's general election. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA - Credit: PA

A historic formula which sees Scottish citizen get significantly more public cash per head than people living in Norfolk and Suffolk will become 'less relevant' as Scotland gets more powers, a senior Tory has said.

Leader of the House of Commons William Hague would not be drawn on whether more cash would come to the regions under a new deal, but warned local government spending would remain 'tight'.

His comments came as the Conservative Party conference started in the wake of a double blow as a second Tory MP defected to the UK Independence Party in a matter of weeks, and a minister was forced to resign after in the wake of a sting.

Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckelss announced he was following Douglas Carswell to Nigel Farage's party on the final day of the UKIP conference in Doncaster and

hours later, it emerged Essex MP Brooks Newmark had sent an explicit image of himself to an undercover reporter from the Sunday Mirror.

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But Mr Hague said they were taking it 'in their stride' and there would be announcements over the coming days.

In the wake of a no vote in Scotland, which came after a promise by the three main party leaders to hand more power to Scotland and stick to the so-called Barnett formula, Norfolk and Suffolk MPs called for a fairer deal.

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Waveney Conservative MP Peter Aldous said the rejection of Scottish independence provided a 'once in a lifetime opportunity' to look again at the settlement for nations of the UK and indeed the regions and make sure that East Anglia and Suffolk get a fairer deal, which he said we had not had for a long time.

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, agreed it really wasn't fair that a family in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK receives so much more of people's hard earned taxes than a similar family in Norwich.

The criteria for the so-called 'Barnett Formula' were set in the 1970s.

Questioned on whether more money would come to places like Norfolk and Suffolk as a result of a new cabinet committee to look at devolution, Mr Hague said: 'As more powers are devolved to Scotland, including more tax raising powers, as is proposed, but the details have not been settled, the Barnett Formula will become less relevant. Scots will be raising a larger part of their own revenue.'

But he added: 'Let's be realistic, it is a time of public sector spending restraint. It is bound to continue given the huge deficit run up by the last Government. Local Government spending everywhere will remain tight in the coming years, I don't want to pretend anything different.'

Mr Hague also said that district and county councils would not be torn up by his newly formed devolution committee, and anymore powers to the region would take place within existing structures.

He held his first meeting of the cabinet committee, which will be attended by local government minister Eric Pickles, on Wednesday.

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