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Durham e-Theses
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Economic change in south east Northumberland 1945-74

Copsey, Mark William (1995) Economic change in south east Northumberland 1945-74. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is an analysis of economic change within the South East Northumberland coalfield. The study is not a strictly historical one but seeks to use the 30 year experience of change to draw conclusions as to the policies required to revive an economy hit by major economic dislocation. Coal dominated the economy of South East Northumberland, representing over 60% of all employment. After 1958 the coal industry went into rapid decline, by 1974 employment had fallen by 70%. This research looks at the success or otherwise of the policies pursued by the coalfield Local Authorities to address the loss of coal employment and to assist economic diversification. A study of this kind makes it necessary to place local events in their national context. The success or failure of actions taken by Local Authorities can only realistically be considered in this way because central government policies had a direct and material impact upon coalfield employment. This analysis indicates that the policies being pursued by government were directed more at the position of the UK in the international economy and concentrated less upon the internal strength of the regions and localities within regions. The thesis explores the two issues that were seen by the County Council as central to its chances of economic re-generation: its relationship with the National Coal Board and its settlement policies, in particular, the development of Cramlington new town. South East Northumberland's economy, the thesis concludes, remained weak and vulnerable. Northumberland County Council cannot be directly criticised for the failure of its policies to generate the necessary new employment. The policies adopted were not dissimilar to any pursued by the majority of Local Authorities in the UK. Instead, the thesis argues, that there is a more fundamental reason why local economies, of which South East Northumberland is but one small example, have not re-generated. The real failure has been in the inability of the British state to respond to economic change in the regions. Regional revival requires, as a prerequisite, a constitutional change that devolves power to the regions to shape and affect their own economic future. The failure of most traditional manufacturing regions to establish a new economic base over the last 20 years is a significant contributing factor behind increased demands for regional government. However, regional government is a still untested solution in the UK context. Therefore, while it may be part of developing a more regionally coherent strategy for a local economy there can be no guarantee that it will not be restricted in the same way as central government in the face of international capitalism.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1995
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:48

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