At the Pleasure of Parliament: the Politics of Local Reform in Britain

  • Douglas E. Ashford


For more than a century local government has been at the heart of major controversies over institutional reform in Great Britain, and for over a century British politics has always managed to procrastinate making a decision. Even the Local Government Act of 1972, the product of nearly three decades of debate (with no major action), is little more than a compromise forced on central government by the immense inefficiencies and inadequacies of a local government system that had remained essentially unchanged since 1888. In this respect, the issues and outcomes surrounding local reform efforts in Britain are perhaps the best illustration of the inability of modern British politics to adapt its venerable tradition of democratic governance to the needs of the advanced industrial state.


Local Government Local Taxation Royal Commission Democratic Governance Central Politician 
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  1. 2.
    The nature of the constitutional constraints is fully discussed in Nevil Johnson, In Search of the Constitution (Oxford: Pergamon, 1977).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Douglas E. Ashford, British Dogmatism and French Pragmatism: Central-Local Policy Making in the Welfare State, ( London and Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1982 ).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Donley T. Studlar and Jerold L. Waltman 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas E. Ashford

There are no affiliations available

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