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Britain is one of the most centralised countries in the world, while trust in politics has never been lower. Our social bonds have been eroded and fragmented from years of excessive marketisation. To start to combat this, we believe power must be devolved to the lowest appropriate level.
Empowered communities, guided by their understanding of the issues most salient to them, must lead public services to address the growing and complex barriers that people face in their own lives.
However, the dislocation of personal conviction and social obligation has broken down bonds of trust. Families play a crucial role in the success of their communities, but they too have suffered the effects of excessive marketization. More must therefore be done to engender a political environment and social architecture which places supporting families in all circumstances at the heart of public policy.
Building strong communities will provide a platform that is essential for the devolution of power. Achieving this requires a fundamental renewal of our governing institutions. Civil society and intermediary institutions, such as schools, faith groups and businesses are a crucial means to achieving this outcome. We therefore also need a new purpose and new vision, to create institutions that are part of a shared social space.
The UK is one of the most centralised countries of its size in the developed world, and English local government has the most circumscribed powers of any equivalent tier internationally. Despite the many merits of the Localism Act 2011, communities are still relatively powerless when it comes to shaping their local area and participating in their public services, and people no longer believe that voting will deliver the changes they require.
We are witnessing a crisis of legitimacy and accountability at home and abroad. Globally, there is a growing distrust of representative democracy: the Occupy Wall Street movement and the St Paul’s Cathedral sit-ins are symptomatic of alternative modes of expression by an electorate who has given up on their elected representatives and the economy they licensed. There is an increasing suspicion by citizens that the European Union is a consolidating rather than an enabling power that acts for the interests of the representatives rather than the represented.
We are increasingly aware of the terrible social consequences of the breakdown of families, both extended and immediate. That the UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world and that the social and economic cost is one we can no longer afford to ignore is evident to those that would look. Family breakdown is damaging to people and society: it drives many of the social problems we see in Britain.
Published: 23 July 2015ResPublica’s new report, A Community Right to Beauty: Giving communities the power to shape, enhance and create beautiful places, buildings and spaces, argues for the restoration and democratisation of beauty...Download as PDF
Published: 01 May 2015The Key Cities group represent cities across England and Wales, we say Britain’s cities in the title of this manifesto because we think the arguments employed here apply to all...Download as PDF
Published: 09 February 2015The debate on devolution, not only between parliaments, but for cities and other places across the whole of the UK, has never been more important to the future of our...Download as PDF
Published: 15 September 2014Monday 15th September marked the launch of ResPublica’s report ‘Devo Max – Devo Manc’. The report proposed a radical plan to give Greater Manchester greater control of its finances and...Download as PDF
Published: 07 May 2014The National Health Service is at a critical juncture in its long and illustrious history. Tighter public finances brought about by the most significant programme of fiscal contraction for a...Download as PDF
A Constitution Society Paper in Conjunction with ResPublica....Download as PDF
The challenge: An unequal and diverging Brexit Britain Britain’s cities and regions face real and growing challenges post-Brexit. It is vital that growth is delivered...
ResPublica, in partnership with the British Council, is undertaking a project on soft power and the vital role of institutions in British foreign policy. Institutions...
Since taking office, the new Prime Minister’s rhetoric has made clear her determination to help young people from all backgrounds to go as far as...
The Government’s Written Statement of February this year stated that, based on conversations with local authorities, councils in the UK had an estimated capacity to...