National policies, local priorities? International perspectives on central-local relations

Online Seminar:

22 November, 2-4pm, UK time


The UK government has introduced a multitude of different local and regional policy initiatives in England over recent years, with the regional structures of New Labour giving way to localism, the Northern Powerhouse and the post-Brexit levelling-up agenda. Together with the outdated and inadequate funding model for English local government, over a decade of austerity, and the recent cancellation or doubt hanging over levelling up, this flux has put councils in an uncertain position and made it difficult to plan ahead for the longer term. However, with a UK general election scheduled for 2024, change may be on its way, and now is the time to think about how central-local relations might develop in the future, and what the UK can learn from other multi-level systems.

This online seminar brings together a range of inspirational international perspectives to examine how central-local relations operate in other countries. It will stimulate thinking and debate about whether and how ideas from elsewhere might be applied in the UK to create a more effective and equitable system of intergovernmental relations, in which councils are better-placed to take decisions on behalf of their localities. Examples will come from Germany, Italy, Japan and the US, based on research carried out in each of these countries.

Each of the following speakers will present for around 15-20 minutes, followed by questions and plenary discussion:

  • Greg Stride, Local Government Information Unit, UK: “What if local government were funded properly? Reflecting on forty years of the LGIU and where we could go next”
  • Elisa Kochskämper, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Germany, and Utrecht University, The Netherlands: “Local government and the heat transition in Germany: intergovernmental interdependence and local autonomy”
  • John Provo, Virginia Tech University, US: “The Rebirth of Industrial and Place-based Policies in the US: A local and regional perspective”

Chair: Peter Eckersley

Online seminar