In the developed world’s most centralised nation, calls for devolution and decentralisation have long gone without a meaningful answer from the heart of government. Yet in the aftermath of a pandemic which brought people closer to their local communities than many had been in generations and in the face of an economy which is increasingly unable to provide prosperity across the country, advocation of bringing money and power closer to communities is set to grow louder still.
This workstream aims to bring out the policy requirements for a better dispersed and more genuinely democratic England, aiming to chart the course to true community empowerment, bringing the levers of meaningful power within reach of neighbourhood-level organisations across the country.
Driven by the dynamics of a new political cycle, we are on the edge of a major shift in how we shape our built environment, set our economic ambitions, create inclusive place ambitions and deliver local public services. This sea change will shift the paradigm of place-based provision for the next decade as all the […]
As climate shifts worldwide, councils across England are being hit by increasingly extreme weather patterns including violent storm surges, unbearable temperatures, and widespread flooding. Even under the most minimal of warming scenarios, infrastructure, public health, and GDP will all worsen due to the weighty pressure of extreme weather events. If action is not taken, the […]
Council finances are in a precarious position. Wound tightly from the time of the astringencies of the 2010 spending review, to the limited protections that saw the sector through the Covid years, the principal cogs of local government finance – property taxes, commercial revenue, fees and charges, capital expenditure and grant funding, are clearly out […]
As one of only three regions of the country to be net contributors to the Exchequer, the role of the South East region in advancing the levelling up agenda for national renewal remains pivotal. Resetting the South East investigates the role of the South East region in Levelling Up, and what is necessary for its […]
The Levelling Up White Paper, released in February 2022, represents the most significant, comprehensive and wide-reaching UK government statement on devolution, geographic inequality and regional political economy in at least a decade. The paper filled the intellectual void at the heart of the ubiquitous Levelling Up Agenda with a theory of disparities between places and […]
Public procurement and outsourcing have great potential when managed well, with the volume of public sector spend across the country creating many opportunitites to advance strategic economic goals. Unfortunately, for decades, successive governments have been unable to tap systematically into this potential. Now, free of the EU rulebook, with reforms on the way and a newfound […]
Meeting the net zero target is one of largest, most complex, and cross-cutting challenges that governments face. Many countries have committed to reaching net zero by 2050. To do so, governments must organise their policies for the major delivery challenge of net zero, unprecedented in both scale and speed required. The challenge of reaching net […]
The relationship between the levelling up agenda and London has been the subject of intense scrutiny, both inside and outside of the city. The Local London subregion – comprising the boroughs in East and North East London – presents a clear problematisation of the often-presented view of London as a universally prosperous economic monolith. Local London and […]
As far back as the twelfth century, we have evidence that local authorities have engaged in commercial activity effectively – benefitting residents, improving public services and generating much-needed revenue independent of central government. Jo Chamberlain’s fabled ‘gas and water’ municipalism in the 19th century showed how commercial interventions of the muscular variety could engender transformative […]
The Plan for Growth, released in March 2021, is the UK government’s new plan setting out its view on how to recover from the pandemic through ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ across the UK. It sets out government objectives to ‘support economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills, and innovation’. And serves as a […]