Conservative Party Economic Policy: From Heath in Opposition by Richard Wade (auth.)

By Richard Wade (auth.)

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Sir William Armstrong was again put to work to develop detailed proposals for such an executive; he presented these in a meeting of the MCES held on 23 February (CAB, 1972a). Armstrong’s executive proposals would also grant the Trade and Industry Secretary powers to give selective financial assistance to industry, and Heath stated in the summing up of the discussion that such regional measures should not be included in the upcoming finance bill, but in a separate piece of legislation (CAB, 1972a).

The group produced its interim report in July 1976. It was, unsurprisingly, pessimistic about the prospects for the nationalised industries and concluded that only by returning such industries to the private sector could industrial performance be improved dramatically.

This viewpoint has been challenged by some, including Jones and Kandiah (1996). But it is nevertheless reasonable to state that the Conservative Party leadership did respond to electoral defeat in 1945 by publicly committing itself to the economic policies that would tend to be used by both parties as a first resort for managing the British economy up until the 1970s. In their Industrial Charter publication (Conservative Central Office, 1947: 16), the Conservatives committed themselves to jobs for all those who were willing to work.

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