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Archive for the 'localism' Category

The Big Question on…local government

ucyow3c28 April 2015

Should localism be sped up or slowed down?

Localism has been a key theme of the Administration for the past five years. From day one, Secretary of State Eric Pickles, of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) established momentum to push back responsibilities from central government to localities. The Localism Bill (2011) replaced the previous central control on local authorities, with increased local responsibility. While presented as having the virtues of new freedoms and flexibilities, localism also brought with it an increase in local authority workload and costs in a climate of diminishing support. The removal of central controls on planning, land use and housing also introduced the risks of diverging policy and practice across regions and authorities. This raised the spectre of postcode lotteries and the expensive re-invention of wheels, as best practice was no longer promulgated from the centre. (more…)

The Big Question on…local environment

ucyow3c28 April 2015

Is recession an opportunity for local places?

Place quality: A 2020 call to action

2020 is just five years away, or to put it another way, in 2020 we will be electing our next parliament. A new post-austerity path towards place quality could empower local government, the development industry, our built environment professions and the diverse local communities of interest to rally behind such a vision.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (more…)

The Big Question on… infrastructure

ucyow3c28 April 2015

Would devolution overcome uneven city investment?

Uneven growth, devolution and urban futures research

The financial crises and recession that began in 2008 were initially viewed as an opportunity for rebalancing the UK economy away from financial services towards a broader base, and addressing Britain’s long term north-south divide. The reality of recent years have instead seen a strengthening of regional divisions with high rates of growth in London and the South East, compared to mixed or negative performance in the rest of Britain. While the South East now needs to tackle the knock-on effects of growth in terms of the severe housing shortage, many regions in the UK have struggled to achieve growth.

The 2015 general election is unique for the prominence of city devolution policies by all the major parties. The Conservatives have over the last year been devolving some powers and budgets on and ad-hoc basis to northern cities, while Labour and the Lib Dems propose more comprehensive devolution in their manifesto commitments. These policies are aimed at boosting growth in northern cities and thus narrowing regional disparities. (more…)