John Stewart

New home supply will respond to the Help to Buy scheme’s boost to demand, as will second-hand supply

Many commentators argue the government’s Help to Buy scheme will inflate a price bubble because supply will not respond to the demand boost. John Stewart explores the design of the two Help to Buy schemes in detail and their likely impact on demand and supply. He believes supply will respond to the increase in Equity Loan demand for new homes, […]

The central government continues to believe that it, and not elected local authorities, knows best

George Jones and John Stewart describe the considerable freedom for action and initiatives by local authorities up to the Second World War. Central controls then began to escalate, culminating in the 1980s when their right to determine their own levels of expenditure when financed by their own taxation was ended. This trend has since continued. The 2011 Localism Act gives central government over one […]

The National Audit Office should not be responsible for the audit of local authorities

George Jones and John Stewart support the government’s proposal that local authorities can choose their own auditor as it is consistent with both localism and practice in many organisations. Elective audit and district audit The Municipal Corporations Act 1835 prescribed auditors and auditing for the boroughs it was creating as the foundation for elected local government in urban areas. The Act provided […]

Government plans to impose mayoral referendums have not been thought out properly and should be abandoned

As part of its flagship localism agenda, the coalition government will introduce powers to require certain authorities to adopt the mayoral model currently in place in London. The first step is to impose ‘shadow mayors’ and local referendums on mayors. George Jones and John Stewart write that proposals are actually against the principle of localism, and may even undermine the […]

The Government’s Localism Bill gives local authorities freedom to do what central government wants. If true ‘localism’ is to develop, the government must change its thinking.

The Government’s Localism Bill, aims to devolve power to local authorities and give communities more control over local decisions. Yet George Jones and John Stewart argue that true localism will not develop unless there is fundamental change in the working of central government. It seems that the government’s approach to localism does not recognise that the main barriers to the […]