Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Research areas Brexit, devolution and local government

Brexit, devolution and local government

Recent years have seen big – and sometimes divisive – debates about, and changes to, the governance of the UK: Brexit; the Scottish independence referendum; and shifts in responsibility from central to devolved and local governance. The IFS has played a key role in informing these debates, providing authoritative and impartial analysis of the key economic issues involved.

In the run up to the EU referendum, we assessed the potential fiscal and economic effects of Brexit and the channels by which immigration can affect the public finances. Since the vote to leave the EU, we have analysed how consumer prices might be affected by post-Brexit tariff reductions, and examined the effects of possible trade barriers with the EU on the UK labour market.

Our work on Scottish independence examined the short- and long-term fiscal outlook for an independent Scotland, and considered options for tax and benefit reforms. More recently, IFS research has focused on changes to the funding regimes for Scotland and Wales within the UK.

The IFS has also launched a new programme of research and analysis in the context of ongoing major changes to the local government finance to inform policy decisions and to provide new evidence on the impact of reforms on local outcomes. Alongside this we analyse local government social care spending, and the interactions with health service utilisation. And we have undertaken work on police pensions and spending in the context of shifts in responsibility from central government to local taxpayers, and wide variations in local tax capacity.

Selected highlights

Book chapter
In this chapter, we focus on one particular aspect of Brexit – changes in trade barriers with the EU – and examine the consequences these might have for different industries, workers and regions.
Briefing note
Government worker
We are in the midst of major changes to local government funding – both its level and the system for raising and distributing it. This note brings together some of the key findings of our research on this topic and highlights where to find further information.
Journal article | Fiscal Studies
The aim of this paper is to provide quantitative information about the position of the UK in the network of global value chains (GVCs) and to discuss its implications for the UK's post‐Brexit trade policy. We find that the UK has become much less integrated into global production networks than ...
Analysis of the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission’s proposals
Briefing note
This report argues that ongoing reforms to local government finance risk a growing funding gap for adult social care and conflict with efforts to provide consistent and high-quality care services across the country.
IFS Working Paper W 16/05
This paper reviews and appraises the Fiscal Framework Agreement, with a particular focus on this issue of block grant adjustment.


Contact IFS on 020 7291 4800 or

Peter Levell
Associate Director
David Phillips
Associate Director