Government Beyond Whitehall: Local Government and Urban Politics
A principal reason for Margaret Thatcher’s replacement as Prime Minister was her calamitous reform of local government finances, the poll tax. It is apt that a recondite issue of local finances should displace a leader whose twelve-year premiership was marked by an unprecedented legislative programme of reform of local government. Despite rhetorical allusions to neoliberalism and limited government, the Conservatives have legislated enthusiastically and in detail to reform local government: since 1979 there have been almost 50 separate parliamentary Acts affecting local authorities (see Table 9.1). The aim of these reforms is to marginalise local government as a political institution by creating alternative local agencies to deliver policy and by denuding its representative role.
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