The heart of the problem: a weak centre is undermining the UK government


This report from UK think tank the Institute for Government looks at how the centralised nature of the UK state has consequences for citizens.

The United Kingdom is a highly centralised state and policy decisions made in Westminster have consequences for citizens across the country. That is particularly true during a pandemic when extreme restrictions on everyday life are imposed with the stroke of a ministerial pen. But for such a centralised system the heart of government that directly supports the prime minister is weak. The prime minister’s team is underpowered, especially compared with the Treasury, lacking the tools to set direction and to hold the rest of the government to account. This paper considers the effectiveness of Number 10 and the Cabinet Office and sets out ways to improve how they work.

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