Levelling Up in England: The strange omission of sub-municipal government

Jones, Alistair
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Peer reviewed
The UK government is very keen to promote the idea of 'levelling up'. This is about enabling the more deprived parts of the UK (and specifically England) to access various forms of funding to develop projects to assist the local economy and society. There is also encouragement to establish new bodies to assist in these developments, as well as empowering those already in existence. Yet there is one area that, while mentioned, is not really targeted: sub-municipal government. Sub-municipal government in England is much derided, and (for the most part) wrongly so. This is the one tier of government that has that close contact with the public; that is able to find out what is needed, and to deliver. Yet central government has chosen to ignore this tier. Instead, they look to the establishment of new, unaccountable bodies, in the mistaken belief that such bodies are better at service delivery. This paper is going to explore some of the thinking behind this omission, and to highlight the extent to which sub-municipal government in England has an essential role to play in the levelling up project.
Local government, Levelling up, Parish Councils, Sub-municipalities
Jones, A. (2023) Levelling Up in England: The strange omission of sub-municipal government. ECPR annual conference, Charles University, Prague, 4-8 September 2023.
Research Institute
Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC)