Friday, 31 March 2017

The super-centralisation of the English state – Why we need to move beyond the devolution deception

an article by Robin Hambleton (University of the West of England, UK) published in Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit Volume 32 Issue 1 (2017)


In a stream of high-profile announcements, the UK central government has said that it wants to devolve power to sub-regions within England – to city regions and across the country.

This article presents evidence to show that the actual intent of government policy is the reverse. Instead of promoting the creation of powerful, independent sub-regional authorities, answerable to the citizens who elected them, the government is seeking to impose a super-centralised model of decision-making in which locally elected politicians are required to comply with central directives.

By drawing on work with city region leaders in England, the article develops criteria for assessing sub-regional governance. Inspirational examples of city region governance in other countries are presented.

These examples show that the current super-centralisation of the English state is out of step with progressive policy making in other countries.

Suggestions on how to develop real devolution in England are outlined.

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