Engagement with and trust in politics is low, and a cost of living crisis has brought the challenges people are facing into sharp focus. Fixing the relationship between people, power and places is fundamental if we are to bring about change. In recent papers, we have explored how devolution – “giving power to the people” – is the way forward.

Our new report, in partnership with Nesta, identifies the core schools of thought on how best to achieve this in the UK, framed as three ‘tribes’; the Federalists, Mayoralists and Communitarians. Crucially, we highlight seven key ‘fundamental trends’ relating to power and place that will underlie the policy challenges facing citizens and governments in the coming decades:

  1. Devolution is not on track to be achieved till 2034 across England
  2. The public are sceptical about the impact of levelling up so far
  3. The demand to give more power directly to communities is growing
  4. Voter turnout tells us that people are less engaged with local than national politics
  5. Trust in government, politicians and democracy is at an all time low, and is likely to continue to decline, threatening our democracy
  6. There are pockets of democratic innovation happening across the country, but more could be done
  7. Policy makers are recognising the need to shift power and resources into the hands of local people

This project is part of the UK 2040 Options project, which is exploring policy options to improve outcomes for children born today and reaching adulthood around 2040.