Local government has failed to offer a stirring vision of the future

By Ed Cox | 05 July 2017
  • Ed Cox

The outbreak of war in 1939 meant the then government’s planned Barlow Report – designed to hand England’s regions the levers to improve industry and commerce – were quietly shelved.

Today, the ambitions to hand city regions business rates powers are put on the shelf, and devolution seems sidelined at the very time local power is needed more than ever.

For almost as long as I can remember the mantra has been that structures are a distraction and that constitutional issues are about as fringe as we can get. Now the constitution is becoming the biggest issue in town as national government spends the next two years preparing for one of the biggest legal overhauls in British history.

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