Prospects for Devolution in the 2020s?

The government’s commitment to “levelling up” certainly could be transformative. There is potential for devolving real political and decision making powers to councils as part of this process over this year and into the 2020s.

But given the historical precedent it would be an astonishing turn of events.

It would break the pattern in the relationship between central and local government, whereby councils are viewed either with suspicion and mistrust, or as delivery arms of the state, whose purpose is to implement policy goals set in Westminster.

Meaningful change to this paradigm would require bold, strategic thinking about the role and function of local government and local democracy.

We are yet to see the signs of such a strategic approach and for now local government is left guessing what is in store.

Drawing from his recent PhD research with LGIU and Queen Mary, University of London, in this long read Andrew Walker investigates the relationship between central and local government.

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