Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1966

Metropolitan boroughs were created by the London Government Act of 1899 as part of London's new network of local government. They were the main local authorities in inner London from 1902 until the mid-1960s.

The 28 metropolitan borough councils governed local districts of inner London in conjunction with the over-arching London County Council, which had been created ten years earlier. In outlying areas, county and district borough councils provided government. The Corporation of London ran the City of London.

The new boroughs were designed to provide public services for their areas, paid for by local rates. Each borough had common responsibilities for basic services but, in addition, 16 generated electricity for supply to local households and 17 operated as burial authorities.

There was a degree of tension between the metropolitan boroughs and the larger London County Council, which had powers to levy rates on the smaller councils. In 1921, local councillors on Poplar Borough Council refused to pay the L.C.C. rate demand on the grounds that the money was better spent locally on poor relief. The leaders, including Labour politician George Lansbury (1859-1940), were jailed.

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