Equality and empowerment

Think tank: Fabian Society

Author(s): Luke Raikes

October 19, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Fabian Society looks at a progressive proposal for fiscal devolution and economic development in England.

England is generally agreed to be the most centralised nation of its size in the developed world, with central government involved in almost all aspects of how local authorities operate.

Despite the extensive control exercised by Whitehall, ministers find this does not translate into effective action on the ground, while local leaders are frustrated by excessive bureaucracy and limitations on how they can drive economic development locally and regionally.

Many problems with the current system can be traced back to the fact that just 5 per cent of tax is controlled at a sub-national level in the UK, compared to 13 per cent in France and 31 per cent in Germany.

In this pamphlet, Fabian Society research director Luke Raikes sets out to make a progressive case for devolving public spending, raising important questions about how public money can be used more effectively to deliver policy objectives.