Report calls for fundamental reform

By Laura Sharman | 15 October 2020

The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the ‘dysfunctional relationship’ between central and local government, a report has argued today.

In the report, the Tony Blair Institute called for fundamental reform to the way local government is financed.

Report author Lizzie Insall said: ‘The response to COVID-19 exemplifies the failure of an overcentralised state - confusion over PPE [personal protective equipment], test and trace, local lockdowns.

'This approach, centralised by default, is the baked in reality for how local government operates.

'The financial plumbing needs fixing so that it is both properly funded as a service provider and so local leaders are truly empowered.’

Ms Insall told The MJ the inevitable result of the funding framework for councils was a disempowered local government, underserved citizens and wasted public money.

A government spokeswoman said: ‘We are committed to levelling up all areas of the country by empowering our regions through devolving money, resources and control away from Westminster.’

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