Localiser inside the Whitehall citadel

By Michael Burton | 03 June 2014

Promising devolution is flavour of the month for political parties with an eye on the next general election. But sceptics are more likely to believe that by nature all governments are centrist and all oppositions are localist and trust none of their pledges.

Cities minister Greg Clark is the man who appears to straddle both sides. He is in government and by rights therefore ought to be centrist, yet he sounds and acts like a localist Trojan Horse that has breached the walls of Whitehall. 

In his office in the Treasury, heartland of the centralisers, he tells The MJ: ‘It will always be a fight. It’s inevitable the centre will always seek to centralise. It was a huge battle to get to where we are, a battle to establish space for City Deals and the local growth fund.’ For, as he says, ‘it requires a real effort by policy makers to use the opportunity to push back against their instincts.’

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