This is a theme which we are introducing and to which we may return in future articles. On an average day, Sterling is over-valued from the viewpoint of manufacturing industry in the North of England and in Scotland. It is valued just right from the viewpoint of the City of London, and since the City is a good earner of foreign exchange, HM Government goes along with that.
London gets the Olympics, Crossrail and HS2. Scotland gets the Barnett Formula, and Scottish banks get interest on deposits with the Bank of England even though they are then issuing banknotes of their own on the strength of those deposits, which means that they are getting an income for no net investment!
So what does Cumbria get out of this? As a large rural county we have many of the same problems as Scotland, but apart from the M6 most of our roads are little more than cart tracks. It is time we had some spending on infrastructure such as continuous dual carriageway between Stranraer, Carlisle, Newcastle upon Tyne, Workington and Whitehaven. Carlisle itself should have a southern ring road. This is all to compensate us for the fact that Sterling is over-valued from our point of view.
By analogy with the payment which Scotland received in 1707, we will call this The Equivalent. What do people think? Maybe we are proposing too much development here, and Cumbria should stay rural. It is time we had a public debate on this, and the issues were out in the open.
David Porthouse & Co is a firm of accountants based in Carlisle in North West England. We have a keen interest in new technology with the aim of speeding up accounts production and making accountancy more affordable for our clients.