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    Cuts will test relationship with devolved nations


    by ODN


    Public spending cuts will test the relationship between the devolved nations and the UK Government, according to a new report.

    Prime Minister David Cameron's "respect agenda" sent out a reassuring message to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but postponing funding cuts to these nations risks a backlash in England. That is according to the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) report.

    However, the think tank argues that the devolution settlement can be strengthened despite difficult economic and political circumstances.

    Alan Trench, a research fellow at Edinburgh University who contributed to the report, said: "Devolution has had an easy ride so far, with Labour dominating all three governments in Britain and generous public spending allocations.

    "Now times are tough: not only is spending going to get very tight, but with different parties in office in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, party ties cannot help smooth intergovernmental relations in the way they did.

    "That means that the UK Government needs to approach intergovernmental relations with great care to make the new system work. Complacency is not an option."