Hitting Reset – a case for local leadership

Work in progress

Hitting Reset – a case for local leadership

In recent times attempts have been made to recast central/local relations, seeking a concordat between Whitehall and town hall or a rewiring of central government.  The goal of ensuring fiscal freedoms, widely seen as necessary to full local autonomy, has long floundered on the shoals of a diffident approach to business rates retention and a shrinking timidity against long- overdue reform of council tax valuations or devolving a fuller suite of local property charges.

Against the obvious and chartable pressures of sheer demography alone, we’ve reached the limit of roadspace available for kicking certain cans down the road.  Questions of how we reform local public services and establish strong political economies require bolder policy prescriptions than more of the same incrementalism.   But what would a decisive Big Bang approach to central-local relations look like, and what changes at the heart of government would be necessary to liberate local areas in the current political and economic circumstances?

Hitting Reset will be framed around three distinct strands:

  • strong local leadership;
  • the reinvigoration of local economies and political structures;
  • a recalibration of the third era of the welfare state to reflect demographic pinch points and modern societal expectations and norms.

In seeking answers, we will seek answers to the following questions

  • What would make a strong case for a fundamental rethink of central-local relations in the immediate aftermath of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union?
  • Against such an unprecedented repatriation of international powers, budgets and responsibilities, how far and fast must the central government machine adapt and relinquish control in order that our regions and local areas might flex themselves to create the inclusive economies and modern responsive public services a rebalanced and harmonious realm requires?
  • What would a decisive Big Bang approach to central-local relations look like, and what changes at the heart of government would be necessary to liberate local areas?

Further Information

For further information on this research project please get in touch with:  jonathan.werran@localis.org.uk

Project kindly supported by