The Limitations of Local Government Finance in England: A System Wide Perspective

Kevin Muldoon-Smith*, Cameron Forbes, Jonathan Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

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Over the past 10 years we have been asking council leaders, chief executives, cabinet members for finance and section 151 officers their opinions on how local services are financed in England. And the evidence revealed by these surveys – that there has been a major sustained failure to properly fund local services in England – has become undeniable.

So the question now is: how could local government finance be different?

The Local Democracy Research Centre has commissioned experts at the University of Northumbria, led by Dr Kevin Muldoon-Smith, to look at how local government is funded in different countries around the world.

The research takes a whole-system approach, considering local government finance as a system operating within varied national contexts, including the constitutional and legal framework, politics, expectations, roles and responsibilities.

This first report is an essential assessment of how local government is financed in England, the historical context, the peculiarities of the system and the reasons it has come under sustained criticism. Over the next few months we will release reports on Germany, Italy and Japan, each of which will reveal more about the options available for funding local governments – useful not only to readers in England, but to anyone working in or interested in local government around the world.

By building our understanding of the different ways local services are funded across the world – especially outside of the English-speaking world – we can identify the most effective ways to ensure local governments work for their citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherLocal Government Information Unit
Commissioning bodyLocal Government Information Unit
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023

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