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How Do We Make Devolution Work Better?

Festival of Ideas


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Devolution to nations, regions and cities has been a feature of British politics since 1997 - to the nations of the UK, Greater London and more recently to other English counties and city regions. It has led in some cases to significant change and the rise of powerful national institutions and city leaders, but it has also been a messy, incomplete process that has produced inequalities of power between different parts of the UK.

Not all areas have seen substantive devolution, devolved authorities have different powers, considerable power is still hoarded in the central UK state, and the consequences of devolution for the constitution of the UK, and relations between its constituent nations, remain fraught and contested. Some argue that England should be formally recognised as a partner nation in the UK; others that devolution has gone too far. How has devolution worked in practice? What should the next government do? What can places ask for? Can we move from an overly centralised state to one where true power rests with elected representatives and local communities? Should we consider a federal future for the UK? Zoë Billingham IPPR North, joins Michael Kenny (Bennett Institute, Cambridge), Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, and Hannah White (Institute for Government).  Hosted by Nick Pearce, Director of The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Professor of Public Policy.

In association with IPR Bath

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Hannah White is Director, Institute for Government. She leads the Institute’s work to make government more effective, is a regular commentator on radio and television and writes regularly for a wide range of print media.

Zoë Billingham is the director of IPPR North which is dedicated to developing bold, progressive ideas to strengthen the north of England and regions like it. Billingham regularly appears on national and regional broadcast media, including Channel 4 News, BBC, The Today Programme, LBC and Sky News.

Michael Kenney

Michael Kenny is inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge University.

Marvin Rees

Marvin Rees is the elected Mayor of Bristol. He entered the political world having graduated from Operation Black Vote and Labour Future Candidate programmes.

Nick Pearce is Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at the University of Bath.

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