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Public sector relocation and regional disparities in Britain

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Neill Marshall, Dr Catherine Hodgson, David Bradley


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The authors use the government-commissioned Lyons review proposals for the relocation of approximately 20 000 public sector jobs from London and the South East of England as a springboard for a historical analysis of civil service dispersal in Britain. Though civil service dispersal has helped ameliorate regional disparities, this has been a secondary objective of relocation programmes. The authors highlight the interconnections between public sector relocation and civil service (re)organisation. In the 1960s and 1970s, relocation formed part of a national programme to accommodate the geographical consequences of the hierarchical and spatially centralised public sector by relocating routine functions from the capital. Today, relocation is part of a coordinated programme of public sector reform which seeks to slim down the central headquarters of the civil service-so that only strategic aspects of policy and management are concentrated in London. In the Lyons review regional development is taken more seriously than in previous programmes of relocation; however, the links between the Lyons review and Gershon's review of public sector efficiency suggests that, in the short term at least, the primary emphasis remains on reducing costs and achieving efficiency savings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Marshall JN, Hodgson CM, Bradley DP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning C: Government & Policy

Year: 2005

Volume: 23

Issue: 6

Pages: 883-906

ISSN (print): 0263-774X

ISSN (electronic):


DOI: 10.1068/c46m


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