Local Government of United Kingdom

National associations: Local Government Association; Convention of Scottish Local Authorities; Northern Ireland Local Government Association; Welsh Local Government Association

The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution; and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and local government in England are provided for by a number of pieces of legislation of the UK Parliament. Local government in the other three countries is provided for by legislation of the relevant national parliament. The UK Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for local government in England; the Director-General for Governance and Communities in the Scottish Government in Scotland; the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in the Welsh Assembly Government in Wales; and the Department of the Environment of the Northern Ireland Executive in Northern Ireland.

Local government in the UK comprises 160 unitary councils (occurring in all four countries, including the 33 London boroughs) and 33 two-tier authorities, county councils with a second tier of 236 district or borough councils. Below the unitary, county and district/borough councils in England, Scotland and Wales (but not in Northern Ireland) is a further tier comprising more than 11,400 parish or community councils. Local elections in all four countries are generally held every four years.

The local authorities have revenue-raising powers, and collect property taxes, rents and fees, as well as receiving transfers from the UK government. Throughout the UK they are responsible for a broad range of local public infrastructure and services, notably town planning; economic and business promotion; education; environment and public sanitation; social welfare; housing; local transport; and leisure facilities. Parish and community councils are generally responsible for community facilities such as village halls; war memorials; cemeteries; and leisure facilities.