In his new year message, the prime minister argued that the UK is “in the middle of one of the great reforming decades.” That certainly seems right for the local government landscape. With council finances undergoing large-scale changes and the chancellor determined to drive forward devolution deals for city regions, we are seeing fundamental changes to how theRead more

Making policy, taking decisions – continuity and change in the policy-making process

With the transition from coalition to majority government comes a change in how government policy is formed. Half the Cameron-Clegg-Osborne-Alexander quad, the coalition’s top decision-making forum, has been evicted from office. Understanding how to inform what the new government does means getting to grips with its governing style, power relationships and policy-making functions. Despite theRead more

Preparing for the vote

The beginning of the summer recess – with MPs disappearing to their constituencies and off on their holidays – has ushered in a sense of calm following a somewhat hectic period at Westminster. Of course, not everything will grind to a halt. Osborne’s trip to France this week suggests the Chancellor is likely to remainRead more

Future Conservative leaders – old guard or rising star?

“Terms are like Shredded Wheat – two are wonderful but three might just be too many”. That was Cameron’s explanation when he announced at the start of the election campaign that he would not stand for a third term as prime minister. Unlike certain predecessors, Cameron has been clear that he will not go onRead more

Osborne’s new settlement

Delivering the first Conservative budget since 1996, the Chancellor George Osborne yesterday made a statement of the new government’s ambition, purpose and political territory. Aiming to move the UK towards a ‘higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country’, Osborne stated that he was presenting ‘a new settlement’.   This is indeed the case, as OsborneRead more