Reshaping Local Authorities

  • Arthur Midwinter
Part of the Government Beyond the Centre book series (GBC)


The Wheatley system was never fully accepted by Conservative Party activists, with discontent particularly acute in areas where power bases had been lost through subjugation in a larger regional authority — for example, in Ayr and Edinburgh. Stodart’s review of 1982 was precluded from any proposals which would threaten the viability of either tier of local government. The result was a ‘pressure simply ignored and left to flounder by Malcolm Rifkind’ (Kerley, 1992, p. 27). However, Thatcher’s fall and the Heseltine review in England gave a new impetus to reform. The new Scottish Secretary, Ian Lang, gave the first indication of a commitment to structural reform in an address to COSLA’s annual conference in March 1991, in which he advocated the replacement of the two-tier system with a single-tier system, creating stronger, more effective authorities and clearer accountability, and said that the new financing arrangements post-community charge required capping, and local authorities would find accountability to the UK government more rigorous than local accountability.


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© Arthur Midwinter 1995

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  • Arthur Midwinter

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