If any authors were going to make the case for local government as a crucial element in the democratic viability of our unitary
The next few years are going to require some bold and creative solutions to some very challenging problems. These solutions are going increasingly to invented and implemented on a place basis and will be best achieved when local government and the VCS are together promoting and striving for their communities.
If Theresa May means what she says about her government being for all and not just the "privileged few", then she needs to direct her attention to addressing this sense of powerlessness that is sweeping the nation.
If ever there was a time for bold, brave focussed leadership in the voluntary and community sector, at both national and local level, surely it is now? And this must particularly be case in respect of the local community and small charity sector, which are the backbone of strong communities and the catalyst for local social action.
The fundamental point about Sunday trading and the economy is that more hours do not equal more sales. All that happens when trading hours increase is that the sales get spread from smaller to larger stores, and across more hours.
Today CPRE published a major report, Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside
Localism hands power to people. Decades of decisions being taken at a central level and then imposed on communities have been turned on their heads in recent years and people are now reaping the benefits.
It was helpful of Jeremy Corbyn to publish an eight-page economic manifesto last month. We can now be 100% sure that his policies would scare every major company away from the UK for good.
Allotments are wonderful things, aren't they? They mean that even if you live in a big city you can get outside and feel the sun (or rain) on your back as you nurture fresh, healthy food for your dinner table...
Given the current political and economic agenda, it is all too tempting for the voluntary and community sector to retreat
As the Scotland Bill makes its way through Parliament, it's time to start igniting the liberalism of localism; for more of our towns and cities to start marching towards the drumbeat of devolution.
Localism, devolution and decentralisation are currently key buzz words right across Whitehall and town halls throughout the country. Now whilst it is very important that these words evolve into effective policy (and do so for places beyond the major cities and city regions), it is, in my view, equally important that the move upwards to local government does not stop at the town or county hall but extends even further, up to communities and neighbourhoods.
It is easy to be cynical about the Northern Powerhouse. Critics have already labelled it as tokenism, or an afterthought from the Conservative Party to appease concerns that it does not think beyond its traditional strongholds. But it is more than that. Furthermore, criticising the vision before it has even got off the ground is actually counter-productive in the long run.
In less than two weeks' time, the general election ballot boxes will be back in storage (though few would dare predict for how long). And then, sometime after 7th May, the UK will have a new government.
The disability employment rate is 47.4 per cent. Historically, periods of economic growth have not had the same positive effect on the employment rate of disabled people as they have for everyone else.
Every time you buy British goods that are made with skilled labour, you're not only creating jobs for British workers, you are also keeping skills alive in this country. Often these skills have been handed down through the generations. It's about culture, tradition, heritage and history as much as it is about the thing you buy.
The UK General Election is only four months away. This will be a very significant general election with potentially major implications for the future of the state, the economy, society and consequently for the charity and voluntary and community sector.
Last week's No vote in the Scottish referendum marks the start of a new discussion, one devoted to devolution that could lead to the transform of the whole of the UK. Whatever results from the negotiations around Scottish Devo-max or the immediate fallout for the UK's other regions, what is perhaps more significant is that a generation of voters has recognised a Whitehall and Westminster centred model is not set in stone...
These are going to be critical months for the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and charities more generally - and this is especially the case for the national sector bodies. It will also be a critical period for all of us and there needs to be an open debate about the future of society which these bodies can lead.
I believe it is vital that the tasks of setting rates and reliefs, and deciding how to spend them are devolved to local and regional levels of government. This would give people a democratic say in which types of businesses they want to encourage and how the receipts are spent, allowing them to witness the resultant effect in their own, and neighbouring, areas.