The Localism Act 2011 is ostensibly , as its title suggests , the implementation of a localist political agenda. As Eric Pickles , the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said , introducing the 2010 bill to the House of Commons it was intended to prioritise local decision making over other scales of governance. It would , he said:

‘reverse the centralist creep of decades and replace it with local control. It is a triumph for democracy over bureaucracy. It will fundamentally shake up the balance of power in this country , revitalising local democracy and putting power and back where it belongs , in the hands of the people’.

The rationale is , therefore , what the EU would call a ‘subsidiarity principle’ – though the government would avoid any such Euro-language , and calls it ‘power being exercised at the lowest practical level’.

The ‘General Power of Competence’ in the Localism Act: Devolving Democracy or the End of Accountability?