Grasping the nettle: the central–local constraints on local government funding in England

Kevin Muldoon-Smith*, Mark Sandford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


In England, the traditional method of central government redistribution and equalization between locations has been replaced with a greater emphasis on self-sufficiency and entrepreneurism. English local government now faces existential funding questions–a situation that is repeated around the world as the public sector manages the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. Financialization has figured large in the study of entrepreneurial behaviour. However, in England, legal and procedural constraints have driven authorities to seek revenue funding from other sources, principally seeking additional property-related revenues. In response, this article presents a novel typology of local government funding sources and offers an original analysis of their implications for local authorities’ role. The empirical findings show that the buoyancy and quantum of many funding sources are constrained by prior evolution of location and central–local relations: they are not automatic routes to financialization. Conceptually, these findings reveal that methods of financialization, and the local government funding system within which they typically sit, are as likely to be constrained by the evolution and techniques of governance as they are accelerated by it. International debates around financialization, and wider concerns of how locations develop, would benefit from this account of the often-hidden nature and agency of local government funding systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1726
Number of pages18
JournalTerritory, Politics, Governance
Issue number8
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2023


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