Group interactions and lobbies in West Midlands regional economic planning, 1965-72

Painter, Christopher (1973). Group interactions and lobbies in West Midlands regional economic planning, 1965-72. PHD thesis, Aston University.

Abstract

The influence of the West Midlands Economic Planning Council on government decisions since 1965 can be traced through the use of pressure-group and decision-making theories. Crucial to its influence is the nature of its interaction with other groups in the region. A pressure-group methodology is necessary because the Planning Council is only an advisory committee within the structure of government and does not reflect the creation of a regional governmental process. Conflict between local authorities and economic affluence have held back regional consciousness in the West Midlands, although the Planning Council1 s "Economic Appraisal” ( 1971) recorded the growing apprehensions about the state of the region's economy. The inability of the W.M.E.P.C. to influence decisions enough to promote a coherent regional strategy led to continuing intra­ regional conflict between local authorities. The Planning Council did, however, act as a catalyst for the formation of the Standing Conference and developed closer relations with L.A's via this medium. The difficulties for the W.M.E.P.C. in transcending intra- regional conflict were seen in North East Warwickshire, the latter pursuing its own lobby to deal with its employment problems, partly a consequence of the Planning Council's neglect of the area's needs. The W.M.E.P.C. assumed a central role in the attack on the Government's I.D.C. policy through the "Economic Appraisal". The Working Party that produced the Report included formal representatives of major economic groups. There was a favourable response to the Report in the West Midlands, followed subsequently by a modification of Government policy. The success of the National Exhibition Centre lobby, in turn, illustrates the disadvantages under which the W.M.E.P.C. has laboured. This lobby did not involve the Planning Council in the effort to secure the agreement of the Government to the project. For all the weaknesses of the regional administrative innovations of 1965, the repercussions have not been inconsiderable in the widest context.

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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: Group interactions,lobbies,West Midlands,regional economic planning,1965-72
Completed Date: 1973

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