chapter  2
Economic Change and the Changing Role of Local Government
Pages 24

The essence of the Fabian belief in the contribution of local government to social welfare lies in the development of urban public services. A clean water supply, sewage systems, police, public transport and universal education were the services that made for a civilized society. The large cities, the urban areas at the forefront of nineteenth-century economic expansion, were responsible for providing these services. Since it was claimed that local authorities had halved the death-rate in England, it is not surprising that these authorities were seen as effective instruments to control some of the worst social costs of economic growth and to channel part of growing urban wealth into improved living conditions for all.