Miliband, like Cameron, Brown, Blair, and Major, sees the state as excessively centralised and insufficiently responsive to service users and communities. There are nuances of emphasis – Miliband is at pains to point out that he does not want to see “the individual acting simply as a consumer” – but similarities outweigh differences. The solutions he offers are also variations on familiar themes. When Ed Miliband promises that “the next Labour manifesto will commit to a radical reshaping of services so that local communities can come together and make the decisions that matter to them”, we can hear echoes of Cameron’s similar commitment in 2009. “We need to redistribute power and responsibility. It’s your community and you should have control over it. So we need decentralisation.” The problem is not that the diagnosis is wrong. England is remarkably centralised by international standards – and a the vast majority of people who’ve looked at the question think there are likely to be benefits from taking some power and fiscal control away from the Westminster and Whitehall. No, the problem is that decentralisation is much easier said than done. Yesterday, the Institute published, Achieving Political Decentralisation, a report examining thirty years of […]

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