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Compare And Contrast The Central Local Relationship In The Uk System And The Us System.

994 words - 4 pages

There are many differences between the central local government relationships in the US and the UK system. The first major difference has to be the scale upon which the two systems operate on. The US, with a population of over 275million people is divided up into 50 states. The UK's population is around 60 million and is also divided into counties. However in the UK the division is merely geographical where in the US the division is political as well as geographical. The different counties in the UK do have their own set of powers but they are nowhere as powerful as the states in the US. They are still following what ever their central government tells them to do. In the US the degree of separation is much greater. The states have their own power over matters that affect their own area. The State still holds power over the general area and matters concerning the economy. It is mainly down to the constitution in the US that the separation is so great. The constitution clearly defines what powers the states hold and anything that is not mentioned is left to the central Federal government. However, since the formation of the constitution and the separation of powers between the State and the states, there has always been an ongoing debate about which powers (those ones that aren't stated in the constitution) are given to who. In the last 25 years there has seen a significant slide towards favouring the individual states and moving away from over regulation by the central government. The powers that the government are given by the constitution are called enumerated powers; the Federal government also have inherent powers. The main comparison point between the UK and US systems is that the UK is still mainly a unitary state with the majority of power and sovereignty being held in one place, Parliament. Any powers, which are devolved, are simply handed down. They can still be revoked at any time and the power can be taken away again just as easily as it was given. As there is no formal constitution that states what powers the counties must have the government has fairly free reign to give and take as it pleases. There is, of course, a certain limit to what they can take away but there is nothing saying what they must give. In the US sovereignty is divided between the Federal government and the states, as said before. However the states are still bound by the financial control that the Federal government has over them. They still decide the budget for each of the 50 states which, very importantly includes grants and funding that can cripple or enable states. That is also true in the UK as the devolved countries are still tied in by Parliaments budget control. Even after devolution of power in 1999 the UK is still a centrally...

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