Published: 28th Jan 2011

Question. What do current local government reforms, and the context in which they are unfolding, have in common with the late 1960s and early 70s? Well, in 1969, Derek Senior, dissenting member of the Redcliffe-Maud Royal Commission, published his alternative blueprint for the biggest shake-up of local government in nearly a century. The context was challenging.  The long post-war economic boom was faltering and the country’s ability to go on financing the seemingly inexorable expansion of the welfare state was in question. The then Labour government’s decision to devalue the pound in the face of a balance of payments crisis had gone down like a lead balloon. The political map of local government had turned blue overnight and Labour would be turfed out of national office within a year. The forecasters were nonetheless telling Senior and his colleagues that the pattern of urban economic growth and suburban living that had … (To read the full article, subscribe below)