British Politics

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 44–62 | Cite as

England plus? Territory, identity and fiscal devolution in the UK

  • Mark SandfordEmail author
  • Federico Mor
Original Article


Few attempts have been made to link the study of recent constitutional and governance changes in the UK with questions of identity and distinction between the UK’s component territories. This article suggests that this is a fruitful way to explore differences in the UK government’s fiscal devolution policy. The article contrasts a traditionally centralist approach to England with a more expansive, innovative approach in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We assemble evidence that neither the aims or the intended outcomes of the policies in the respective areas, nor the exigencies of statecraft, fully account for these differences. This article includes an analysis of the rationales for devolution provided in inception documents for each territory; an analysis of the outcomes of business rate retention in England and an analysis of the difference in handling of implementation challenges in each area. We suggest that exploring deep-laid understanding of UK territory—rarely made explicit in published documents—could serve to fill the gap in explanation. This article contributes to the literature in, and suggests new directions for the study of, devolved and local government’s finance and constitutional development in the UK.


Fiscal devolution Business rates Territorial governance England Multi-level governance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.House of Commons LibraryLondonUK

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