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Devolution and federalism in England


  • John Fenwick
  • Howard Elcock


This paper is concerned with current moves toward sub-national devolution in England and the prospects for a federal government system within the United Kingdom as a whole. The initial focus of the paper is upon the contested nature and governance of regions in England. Current steps toward devolution to such regions are considered through a critical lens, before moving to a wider discussion of the theory and practice of federalism and of whether England could be part of a federal system of UK government. It is concluded that the devolution agenda may proceed in a more serious and consistent manner than at present but there are severe barriers to federalism, including major constitutional constraints, the lack of a written constitution, significant asymmetry between different nations of the UK, the lack of clarity about the definition of sub-national English regions and the lack of political will. These all render a true UK federal state impossible to envisage.

Suggested Citation

  • John Fenwick & Howard Elcock, 2018. "Devolution and federalism in England," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 175-184, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pubmmg:v:38:y:2018:i:3:p:175-184
    DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2018.1434335

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