Ruth Lupton, Sian Peake-Jones, Kerris Cooper and Ceri Hughes
Published 21 November 2018
This paper explores recent developments in the devolution of powers to subnational governments in England and its implications for social policy making and the distribution of economic and social outcomes. It is generally agreed that England is currently an outlier among other developed nations in terms of the degree of centralisation of power within national central government, although historically local government had a much fuller role. Decentralisation of decision-making tends to be shallow, involving localized decisions on service provision, rather than deep, involving a transfer of power over policy aims and methods. Fiscal autonomy is limited. In the context of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and to some extent to London) in the last twenty years, questions have increasingly been asked about the organisation of English government, with calls for further decentralisation. In the last decade the position has begun to change, through a series of negotiated deals transferring powers to individual city-regions, the establishment of combined authorities and, from 2017, the addition of city-region mayors.
This Social Policies and Distributional Outcomes Research Paper is published under the centre's Programme.