This introductory textbook provides an historical overview of developments in local government in postwar Britain. Examines role of local government both as partner and as agent of central ministries Based substantially on original research, yet written accessibly for beginning students and general readers Ken Young is the leading authority in this field, and Nirmala Rao a much- respected younger scholar This introductory textbook provides an historical overview of developments in local government in post-war Britain. The authors incorporate the latest research into their overview to offer a balanced and up-to-date assessment of the dominant arguments and debates, ideal for all those interested in this central topic in contemporary British history. The book opens with an explanation of the expanding role of local government since the end of World War II. The creation of the Welfare State brought unprecedented demands on local infrastructures which were now to act as the delivery vehicle for national programmes of social reform. These pressures gave rise to questions of capacity, ensuring that issues of structure, functions, finance and personnel would predominate in the postwar period. The authors examine the ways in which local government was developed, investigating social and economic circumstances and the impact of successive government policies. They explore, in particular, the effects of the Thatcher years and the way in which local government reform has been carried forward under Major. Throughout the book the authors balance their historical account with insightful analysis, exploring themes such as the on-going tensions between the accountability of local government officials to ministers, and the perceived value of local responsibility. The book will be welcomed by general readers and students of public administration, political studies and planning.