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Political Science Democracy

The Government of London

The struggle for reform

by (author) Gerald Rhodes

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1970
Democracy, Conservatism & Liberalism, Labor & Industrial Relations
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1970
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Following an enquiry by a Royal Commission in 1957-60, the London Government Act, 1963 made sweeping changes in the local government of Greater London. The London and Middlesex County Councils and many other smaller local authorities were abolished; the boundaries of Essex, Kent and Surrey were redrawn. A new structure was established consisting of a Greater London Council and 32 London Boroughs with a unique division of responsibilities between them.


Using much unpublished material Mr Rhodes examines in detail why these changes came about -- changes which produced the first major reform of the local government structure in Britain since it was established in the late nineteenth century. He identifies certain key points in the history of these events: the decision of the Conservative Government to reverse previous policy and set up a far-reaching enquiry into London Government in 1957; the Royal Commission's analysis of the problem and its recommendations; and the Government's decision in 1961 to initiate a scheme of reform based on the Commission's recommendations in spite of the strong opposition this was bound to provoke.


Mr Rhodes describes the course of events from 1957 until 1965 when the new system came into operation in Greater London. He analyses the motives of the participants, including the political parties, the local authorities, government departments and professional bodies. Emphasis is laid not only on the political struggle but equally on the practical problems of administration in a metropolitan area which are essential to an understanding of the event.


This book is the first comprehensive record and analysis of the events which led to the reforms of 1965.

About the author

Gerald Rhodes is Senior Research Officer for the Greater London Group, a research body set up in 1958 at the London School of Economics to study governmental and administrative problems in Greater London and the South-East Region. This book is the result of the first phase of a research study, initiated by the Group, into the Greater London reforms of 1965. the detailed research was carried out either by Mr Rhodes or under his supervision. His other published works are Administrators in Action (Vol. II) and Public Sector Pensions.

Gerald Rhodes' profile page

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