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(p. 279) 10. The Changing Nature of the Local State 

(p. 279) 10. The Changing Nature of the Local State
(p. 279) 10. The Changing Nature of the Local State

Ian Leigh

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date: 25 May 2019

As a directly elected institution with powers derived from Parliament, local government enjoys a measure of democratic legitimacy and autonomy. In reality, however, it lacks formal constitutional recognition. For nearly 20 years, successive governments have been engaged in attempting to reform and reinvigorate local democracy after decades of decline. Under the Coalition’s policy of localism important changes have been made to the powers of local authorities, introducing a general competence power, and to their governance. The concept of community rights is the latest step in a longer-term trend away from the direct provision of local services by councils themselves. In the aftermath of the referendum on Scottish independence there is growing interest in decentralizing powers in favour of the major cities. Overall the position of local government in a multilayered constitution continues to evolve but there is a growing recognition that legal reform to protect its constitutional status may now be necessary.

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