The challenges of subsidiarity

Posted on Monday 6th June 2011

Professor Martin Powell was recently invited to give two half-day seminars in Milan on ‘The New Welfare and Subsidiarity’.  Topics covered in the seminars included the concepts of responsibility, inequality, and control and regulation. Issues discussed included the possibility of personalisation (if viewed as a form of subsidiarity) resulting in greater inequality if some individuals were to make ‘better choices’ than others, and whether the state would allow the negative results of poor choices to stand. 

Consideration was also given as to whether decentralisation/localism would lead to greater geographical inequalities, with the example given of UK devolution and the tensions caused by people in the wealthier parts of England such as London and the South East believing that they are subsidising Scotland and Wales (the poorer parts of the U.K) in order that these nations might enjoy benefits such as better deals on student finance, long term care and prescription charges that they themselves do not.

The morning seminar was organized by Eupolis Lombardia (the Lombardy regional government institute for research, statistics and training), while the afternoon seminar was organized by the Foundazione Sussidiarieta (Subsidiarity Foundation).