Better (Local) Government

Posted on: July 1st, 2017

Our latest report argues that we need a radical reconsideration of the future of local government.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to see any coherent vision from central, or for that matter local, government about the place of local authorities in delivering key public services: how they should be funded and how those responsibilities should be organised. The Better Government initiative has argued in the past for a compact between central and local government to codify and reinforce the relationships between the two, overseen by a Parliamentary Committee or, as some are now arguing, an independent body on the lines of the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Much has changed in the relationship between the centre and local authorities. Many of the changes have added layers of complexity which limit the number of people who feel able to engage in the debate.

It is time there was some discussion of what we want from local government in the future instead of the incremental isolated changes we have been experiencing. The delay in the Local Government Finance Bill, lost in the snap General Election, gives an opportunity to seek a new settlement for local government which looks afresh at the level of local service provision and how it should be funded and organised as a comprehensible and stable system for the future.