The missing pillar : economic planning and the machinery of government during the Labour administrations of 1945-51
This thesis studies how attempts to carry out the policy of economic planning outlined in the Labour Party's 1945 manifesto failed during the Attlee Governments 1945-51. It considers the structure of the civil service and ministerial machinery created to oversee planning and the changes made to it. It covers the debate among officials and ministers over what planning meant and which economic tools could be used to implement it. In particular the thesis focuses on the most tangible manifestations of the planning policies: the annual economic surveys and the Long-Term Programme drawn up as part of the European Recovery Programme process. The thesis seeks to gauge how far planning added "value" to the economy or the workings of the Civil Service. It asks whether the new planning bodies fitted successfully into Whitehall and if British government was sufficiently adaptable to the new economic challenges it faced. It questions the extent to which planners were able to foresee the economic problems Britain encountered and consequently whether ministers were able to successfully combat them. The thesis also seeks to assess the power of initiative of leading civil servants. Furthermore it investigates when planning was superseded by Keynesian demand management and how far planning was in fact incompatible with the capitalist British economy. Overall this thesis demonstrates how planning, an important economic policy, failed to be implemented in the immediate post-war years.