Complete revision notes on Multilevel government in the UK

Unit 4 of the AQA GOVP2

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Multilevel government
Multilevel government the relationship between elected local, national, devolved and EU
Local government is the government provided traditionally by elected authorities e.g. councils. They
provide all the services at a local level with the empathises on the process of government and not
the actual government. Local government isn't very powerful and could be abolished by Westminster
who currently have power over local government as they provide the funding, dictates the
legislature powers of these authorities, inspects the working , fine them for illegal activities such as
in 1985 where councillors were fined for having an illegal budget deficit and can take over any local
Local government is split into 4 main bodies
District councils- Local government assembly elected every 4 years with responsibility for
roads, housing, refuge and leisure facilities
County councils- another local government assembly elected every 4years with more broad
responsibilities such as emergency services, education , public transport and social services.
Metropolitan district council- City wide government fusing the responsibilities of county and
district councils
Unitary authorities- Single tier local government that provide all the services under one
It depends on location whether local government is organised in single and two tier systems. This is
due to a series of reforms;
Heath in 72-74 introducing the two tier system
Thatcher removing metropolitan district councils
1992 Local government review with most two tier systems retained some county councils
were scrapped and replaced with unitary authorities for cities like Bristol.
The benefits of unitary councils are that they promote local democracy as all services are
responsibility of one body which could lead to reduced costs and better quality.
Local government has a significant impact on our lives as £70 billion (25%) of public expenditure is
spent in the area and it employs 2.1 million staff. The principle of local democracy is important as it
means greater participation opportunities and allows people who might not be able to be involved in
national politics to be involved in politics. Local government is funded through 3 roughly equal
revenue streams, Leicestershire in 05/06 is an example;
Government grant- 165.9 million
Business rates- 188.5 million
Council tax- 191 million.

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The issue of funding is controversial as it is a visible and expensive bill and often people are unhappy
with how it is spent. Until 1990 council tax was paid on the basis of a property rate with bigger
houses paying more. In 1990 the poll tax was introduced where everyone over 18 had to pay a flat
rate, it was argued that this would make local government more accountable but was met by mass
opposition and replaced by the current system in 1993.…read more

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Provides a range of services that are important Changes to financial arrangements meaning a fall
to local people in autonomy. Fall in funding and cuts
Can bypass central government and interact with Changes in Framework have led to less
the EU directly as well as implement individual autonomy- Abolition of single authorities.
policy. E.g. the congestion charge and Cardiff
bay barrage.
Unitary authorities are very effective Local councillors unrepresentative and so
representation is not ensured.…read more

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In 1986 the single European act is signed leading to the 1993 single market being
set up allowing the free movement of goods, people and services. All of this was to make encourage
more economic cooperation. 1992 the Masstricht treaty created the E.U leading to justice, home
affairs and foreign policy co operation. In 1999 the Euro is floated and the E.U continues to grow in
size after the 200 treaty of Nice and in 2004 the Union grows in size to 25 members.…read more

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The role of national parliaments could be enshrined in Europe to provide scrutiny
Does the EU undermine UK democracy
Yes No
More policies are being made at EU EU parliament becoming more powerful
level EU decisions are taken by people in the
The focus should be economic not COM and EC that are responsible to
democratic electorates.…read more

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What next for the EU?
There is disagreement on where the EU will go next, It is unlikely to become a superstate but
variable geometry may be a solution.…read more


Old Sir

A wide-ranging and useful survey that provides an overview of degrees on influence exerted by the various strata of government in the UK from local to supra-national. Students might wish to further develop lines of discussion by further reading about comparable and contrasting systems within the EU and the USA in terms of the nature of democracy and participation.

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