England & Wales, Global, Northern Ireland, Scotland Finance

A system wide perspective of local government finance in Germany


Over the past 10 years we have been asking council leaders, chief executives, cabinet members for finance and section 151 officers their opinions on how local services are financed in England. And the evidence revealed by these surveys – that there has been a major sustained failure to properly fund local services in England – has become undeniable.

So the question now is: how could local government finance be different?

The Local Democracy Research Centre has commissioned experts at the University of Northumbria, led by Dr Kevin Muldoon-Smith, to look at how local government is funded in different countries around the world.

The research takes a whole-system approach, considering local government finance as a system operating within varied national contexts, including the constitutional and legal framework, politics, expectations, roles and responsibilities.

This is the second report to come out of this research and focuses on the local government funding system in Germany. It contains fascinating details and insight into the historical context, constitutional, political and legal structures, as well as the peculiarities of the system, which enable and constrain different behaviours.

These comparisons will illuminate our understanding of local government as a system and help us develop new approaches and solutions to long-standing problems.

Download the full report.

Further reading

The limitations of local government finance in England: A system wide perspective – the first report from this research

Local government finance: a comparative study is an introduction to the full research programme with an overview of the funding systems in England, Germany, Italy and Japan.


This research is part of a body of work that is informing our campaign LGIU@40: For the future of local government.

Together with our members and the wider sector we will be establishing a set of new ideas about how local government could work better and how we can build the firm foundations we need to navigate a turbulent and uncertain future.

Local Democracy Research Centre (LDRC)

The LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre (LDRC) has an international programme that engages local authorities and universities in original research to solve key challenges facing our local democracies everywhere. We develop new ideas and approaches for governance, municipalism and citizen participation.