Federal Britain: The Case for Decentralization

Philip Booth, November 2015

The UK’s current devolution settlement leads to unrepresentative government and has an inbuilt bias towards “big government”. This situation is exacerbated because nations with devolved government are over-represented in the UK parliament compared with their population when it might be expected that they would be under-represented. The UK has the most centralised government of the G7, as measured by the proportion of revenue raised by sub-central government. In the UK, only 5 per cent of revenue is raised locally, as compared with 50 per cent in Canada and 13 per cent in France which is the next most centralised country by this measure. There are a number of benefits from decentralising government. Amongst other benefits, decentralisation promotes greater experimentation, better matching of services to local preferences and greater competition between providers of government-funded services.

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