If there had been any doubt that there was concern on the Westminster benches over how much money is allocated to Scotland via the Barnett formula it can now be removed with this quote from Wolverhampton Labour MP Rob Marris during a debate on funding for the Forth Road Bridge:
"Could you assure me the government will hold firm? Scotland already gets shedloads of money under the Barnett Formula.
"They are entitled to raise their own taxes and this government should stand firm against this bridge where they want even more money."
Coming in the week when a decision was taken that free care for the elderly would not happen in England and Wales (senior citizens may have to pay up to £20,000 upon retirement to cover social care costs) it is clear that the funding of devolved Scotland will be a thorny issue for some time, no doubt gathering in intensity as the General Election approaches.
The funding of the Forth Road Bridge could well prove to be the main topic under discussion given the relatively long lifetime of the project and the huge sums required to pay for it.
Rather than "stand firm", Westminster should increase its flexibility on the matter and not just because politically it is the astute thing to do. Capital projects of this magnitude need more than the status quo to implement. The 2012 Olympics building costs saw London raiding Scottish charities to pay for them so it has to be a two-way street.
No extra money is being asked for by the Scottish Government so the "shedloads of money" comment is somewhat misplaced but spreading the costs over a longer period would help absorb the capital spend much easier which, during these tough times, is surely of paramount concern.
The Barnett formula does indeed need to go and Scotland probably does get a little more money than it needs but on this issue of the Forth Road Bridge, it is Westminster that should blink first.