chapter  11
26 Pages

Local government to local governance

There are compelling reasons why a liberal democratic state such as the United Kingdom should have a robust system of local government. In a country of more than 62 million people, central government does not have the capacity to handle all the functions associated with the modern state, so the centre delegates some decision-making power to local bodies. There are strong normative arguments for granting local decision-making powers to democratic bodies such as elected local councils. Pluralists argue that power should be dispersed among different tiers of government rather than concentrated at the centre. Decentralisation is beneficial as it brings decision-making closer to the people: local authorities are better able to recognise and meet the needs of local communities. They also provide opportunities for people to participate in local politics.