This accessible text summarizes and explains the structure of British local government, focusing on key changes introduced during the Thatcher/Major years and initiatives implemented by the current Labour administration. While offering a detailed discussion of these policies, the book examines how local government has sought to respond in a proactive way to a range of important social, political and economic changes. Readers are introduced to local government as a lively and complex site of political engagement. British local government is set in a wider political, social and theoretical context. Throughout, the authors argue that the attempt by the Thatcher and Major administrations of 1979--97 to push local government into the role of merely administrating centrally defined policies was largely short--circuited. While outlining and explaining these changes and their effects, the authors argue that far from being defenceless victims of central government, local authorities devised numerous strategies to protect their independent policy--making role.
The authors go on to examine the proposals for change introduced by the Labour government and assess their implications for local government in the twenty--first century. This book will be essential reading for lecturers and students of local government, politics, public policy and urban policy, as well as practitioners.
Dr Hugh Atkinson is principal lecturer in politics and head of the Politics Division at South Bank University. His specialism is British local government and he is co--author of British Local Government since 1979; The End of an era? Stuart Wilks--Heeg has researched and published widely in the area of local government and urban policy, and is the co--author of British Local Government since 1979; The End of an era? and Talking About Tomorrow: A new Radical Politics., he is Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures, University of Salford.
List of Figures and Tables. Preface and Acknowledgements. List of Abbreviations. Introduction. Part I: The Context of UK Local Government. Chapter 1: The Evolution of Local Government in the UK. Chapter 2: Theories of Local Government and Local Governance. Chapter 3: British Local Government since 1979: Two Decades of Change. Part II: Local Government from Thatcher to Major: Three Dimensions of Change. Chapter 4 The Financing of Local Government. Chapter 5: The Changing Structure and Shape of Local Government. Chapter 6: Local Government and the Private Sector. Part III: Local Government Reinvents Itself?. Chapter 7: Local Elections, Political Realignment and Change in Local Authorities. Chapter 8: Getting Their Own Houses in Order: New Directions in Local Government Internal Organization. Chapter 9: Global Problems, Local Solutions: Government and Sustainable Development. Chapter 10: The Europeanization of British Local Government?. Part IV: Sub--national Government under New Labour. Chapter 11: Towards Regional Government? The Introduction of Regional Offices, the Moves towards Devolution and the Notion of Regionalism. Chapter 12: Local Government under New Labour. Conclusion. Notes. References. Index.