From co-operative to competitive localism? The changing balance between equity and efficiency in local government under the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition

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This paper considers whether there has been a shift in the balance between equity and efficiency in respect of decentralised public policy in England since the election of the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010. Drawing on the literature on policy decentralisation and fiscal federalism from both Political Science and Economics, reasons are discussed why a trade-off between equity and efficiency might be expected. The context of English local government then outlined, and consideration is then given to four areas of policy: business rate localisation, the ‘New Homes Bonus’, council tax benefit and social housing, and regional economic development. In each case, some shift in the balance away from concern with equity towards one with efficiency is discerned: whether or not this is desirable will prove a matter of political and moral, as well as scientific judgement.



Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventPublic Administration Committee Conference - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sep 20116 Sep 2011


ConferencePublic Administration Committee Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom

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