This chapter analyses the evolving roles and relationships between central government (the national) and local government (the local) in local economic and sustainable development in the United Kingdom (with particular reference to England, since Scotland and Wales have their own devolved arrangements for local economic and sustainable development). It considers how and why roles and relationships have developed to where they are today. Much of the analysis focuses on the period since around 1990, although prior developments are not ignored. The starting point is identified as around 1990 because that is when the modern processes of globalization arguably began to have a significant impact on the evolution of roles and relationships between the national and the local. It marked growing recognition that many of the professional certainties that characterized government early after World War II had evaporated, to be replaced by the acknowledgement of challenges that were frequently complex (or ‘wicked issues’) with no straightforward solutions by single governments (Richards, 2001; Clarke and Stewart, 1997). In response, central government powers were being rescaled ‘upwards’ to supra-national institutions (e.g., the European Union and the United Nations) and ‘downwards’ and ‘outwards’ to regional and local administrations and non-state actors (Prince, 2012). Some described this process as the ‘hollowing out’ of the state as the national increasingly became squeezed by both supra-national and local actors (e.g., Rhodes, 1996).
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- The Evolving Roles and Relationships of Governments in Local Economic and Sustainable Development: The Case of the United Kingdom (and Particularly England)
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