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Promoting decentralized and flexible budgets in England: Lessons from the past and future prospects

Ayres, Sarah and Stafford, Ian ORCID: 2012. Promoting decentralized and flexible budgets in England: Lessons from the past and future prospects. Public Policy and Administration 27 (4) , pp. 324-345. 10.1177/0952076711406957

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The UK has traditionally been viewed as a classic example of a unitary state in which central institutions dominate decision making. The recent Labour Government sought to counter this convention through devolution to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London and administrative decentralization to the English regions. This article examines New Labour’s efforts to promote sub-national policy discretion and fiscal autonomy via the Regional Funding Allocations (RFA) process. Findings are subsequently drawn upon to offer insights into the difficulties the Coalition Government is likely to face in its endeavor to decentralize functions and budgets to local authorities and communities. The paper addresses two central questions (i) Can New Labour’s attempt to promote decentralized and flexible budgets in England be viewed asevidence of a transition to a more fluid, multi-level form of governance? (ii)What lessons can be harnessed from the RFA experience in taking forward the Coalition government’s plans to promote fiscal discretion at the sub-national tier? It concludes that there are deep-rooted barriers in Whitehall that may limitthe freedoms and flexibilities pledged to local government and could undermine efforts to decentralize.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0952-0767
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:02

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