in: International review of administrative sciences: an international journal of comparative public administration, Volume 72, Issue 1, p. 73-84
For many years, advocates of a Scottish Parliament hoped that its eventual arrival would mark a new phase in local government: an increase in local autonomy and a redressing of the creeping centralization of the Conservative years. This article addresses the question: to what extent, if any, has there been a shift in the balance of power between centre and local government since the advent of a Scottish Parliament in 1999? It examines the pre- and post-1999 periods in this area of Scottish governance, focusing particularly on the legal/constitutional, financial and policy parameters set by the centre. It argues that continuity has been more important than change, and that reasons for the continued domination of the centre lie particularly with (a) the pervasive influence of the UK Union (b) a relative continuity in political actors and (c) the ongoing self-interest of the 'centre'.