A Whitehall perspective on decentralisation in England’s emerging territories

Sarah Ayres, Graham Pearce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Decentralisation is a key thread running through current UK policy making. The Coalition Government has abolished New Labour’s regional legacy in favour of a new set of strategies around growth and development that has tapped into the localist agenda. Drawing on a series of recent interviews conducted with civil servants, this paper explores Government initiatives aimed at enhancing local autonomy in England and provides new empirical insights into decentralisation from a Whitehall perspective. It examines departmental aspirations for decentralised structures and Whitehall perceptions of the capacity of local arrangements to successfully manage territorial development in an era of austerity. The paper concludes that, in the fields of economic development, planning and transport, there are signs of enhanced local policy and fiscal autonomy. However, there are different levels of enthusiasm for decentralisation across and within Whitehall departments that continue to undermine a more cohesive approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-816
Number of pages16
JournalLocal Economy
Issue number7-8
Early online date21 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2013

Structured keywords

  • PolicyBristol
  • Whitehall
  • decentralisation
  • governance


  • City Deals
  • Decentralisation
  • economic development
  • Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • localism
  • planning
  • territorial development
  • Whitehall


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