Building sub-national government

The prospects for electoral reform in Wales

The prospects for electoral reform in Wales

With the introduction of the Wales Act of 2017, the National Assembly gains significant new powers. As part of this, it can enact its own proposals for electoral reform, including changes to the electoral system and introducing votes at 16. Jac Larner takes a look at what these changes would entail, and the prospects for implementation. 

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

The Wright reforms of the House of Commons’ select committees increased the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster. Andrew Coulson (Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) assesses whether the proposed Betts reforms to local authority oversight and scrutiny committees could do the same for local government. 

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

John Tomaney (University College London) focuses on the proposed deal between government and the North of Tyne area. He explains why it fails to meet the government’s own definition of appropriate devolution arrangements, and why local government leaders have nonetheless accepted it.

Politicising national identity: how parties try to define ‘Welshness’ for themselves

Politicising national identity: how parties try to define ‘Welshness’ for themselves

The politicisation of national identity in Wales has increased dramatically since devolution. But political parties do not present a common version of ‘Welshness’, writes Sophie Williams. Each party expresses its own version instead, conflating national identity with their own political ideology in the process.

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

Britain needs more housing, especially in the South East, yet the green belt still enjoys a great deal of protection from development. John Sturzaker (University of Liverpool) looks at the difficulty of establishing whether NIMBYism is motivated by self-interest or legitimate concerns – and the imbalance of power between people who need housing, and those […]

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Many of Britain’s towns are shrinking; big-city Britain is largely thriving. Taking south Wales as an example of these divisions, Ian Warren explains why his new Centre for Towns will advocate for the future of our towns, particularly during a period when both major parties in the UK parliament appear committed to city regions. Similar PostsSadiq […]

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Devolution has evolved into an uneven process, with much greater progress achieved in some parts of the country compared to others. But why is the North so difficult to govern? John Fenwick (Northumbria University) offers some explanations, and points to the north-east in particular as an area with a strong sense of regional identity but fluctuating, unclear […]

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

The British and Irish governments have long tried to keep a lid on the tensions in Northern Ireland. But Brexit, argues Duncan Morrow (Ulster University) has exposed the weaknesses of the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Agreements – deals that never required each side to give up their aims of ruling Northern Ireland alone. Now […]

Broken up and hollowed out: how the north-east lost its powers and influence

Broken up and hollowed out: how the north-east lost its powers and influence

Following its heyday of political influence during the New Labour era, the north-east has seen much of its regional democracy decline or disappear – with the loss of 13 councils, nearly 500 councillors and the North East Assembly. Sue Regan, Fred Robinson and Keith Shaw have examined the approximately 100 elected and unelected bodies that […]

‘Your tenants are gay, get over it!’: how housing services discriminate against LGBT+ people

‘Your tenants are gay, get over it!’: how housing services discriminate against LGBT+ people

Are public services delivering equality for LGBT+ people? In a socially progressive society like the UK, the presumption is that they probably are. But Peter Matthews and Chris Poyner‘s research suggests some very basic steps are still required to deliver equality, notably in Scottish housing and homelessness services. Similar PostsHaving a legal right to settled accommodation empowers homeless […]