States can be classified into two forms, unitary and federal on the basis of concentration and distribution of powers and the relationship between the central and local authorities.
Federal state divides powers between a central or federal government and several state governments. In Unitary state all the powers are vested with one central government.
Local government obeys all directives of central government and makes rules only when specifically delegated. There is a single executive, single legislature and single judiciary for the whole country.
Main features of a unitary state are single, central all-powerful Government, local governments that exist at the will of the Central Government, a Constitution that may be written or unwritten, a Flexible Constitution as well as Administration and a single uniform Administration.
Unitary governments are suitable for small countries and emergency situations as they facilitate quick decision making. It facilitates accountability as there is no dispute on responsibility and source of authority. It is inexpensive when compared to federal states.
A unitary system holds the possibility of central dictatorship or absolutism over local areas. Unitary state’s chief demerit is its insensitivity to diversity. Further it discourages participation and thereby promotes antidemocratic tendencies in society.
The United Kingdom is a unitary state. All powers are in the hands of the single central government. The laws made by the British parliament apply to all the people and places of the state.