Whitehall, Westminster and Industrial Policy

  • Kevin Theakston


This chapter is concerned with the role of the Whitehall and Westminster policy-making machine and the civil service in the making of industrial policy. A familiar ‘declinist’ critique identifies deficiencies in the institutions and personnel of the British state as key factors in our economic malaise and industrial under-achievement. This is actually a long-running debate. Many modern arguments for, say, more technocratic officials or for the introduction into Whitehall of private sector business people and business methods actually turn out to echo the pre-First World War campaign for ‘national efficiency’. In the inter-war period, and again in the 1960s, there were criticisms that the civil service could not handle new tasks of economic planning and intervention in industry.


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Copyright information

© Centre for Industrial Policy and Performance, University of Leeds 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Theakston

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