‘Endless changes’ from Whitehall have damaged devolution and economic growth, according to a study published by the Institute for Governmemnt (IfG).
The report from the IfG, titled All Change, concluded that ongoing ‘churn’ in sub-regional policy by successive governments had hindered the economy and citizens. The report criticised the ‘staggering amount’ of change across regional government and industrial policy.
“In the space of just over 20 years, the main vehicles for regional governance have included government offices, regional assemblies, regional development agencies and, currently, local enterprise partnerships,” the authors wrote. “The governance of public services has been so continually rearranged that scholars have termed the phenomenon redisorganisation.”
The timing of the report’s publication is unfortunate for the Government, with elections for new ‘metro mayors’ looming large on the horizon. Among those devolved regions set to vote for a new Mayor in May is the West of England, which incorporates the areas covered by Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
Although All Change identifies that constant reforms has hindered economic processes and regional devolution, the IfG suggest that the cause of this problem could be more pervasive across UK politics.
IfG programme director, Emma Norris, said: “This churn is not simply the result of changes in government.”
“It highlights persistent weaknesses in our system of government: the tendency to change and recreate rather than commit to stable, well-evidenced policy.”