England is unusual in relying so heavily on central government to finance its social services. Citizens expect to be able to access services of similar standards wherever they live. This raises difficult theoretical and practical issues. How are the needs of different areas to be measured? How are the different costs of providing services in very different parts of the country to be assessed? This book reviews the economic theory that underpins thinking about the problem. It then traces the way governments have distributed resources from the end of the last century until today. It critically analyses current methods for three services - the National Health Service, schools, and housing.