Catalogue description Records of the Department of Economic Affairs

Details of EW
Reference: EW
Title: Records of the Department of Economic Affairs

Records of the Department of Economic Affairs from its inception in 1964 to its dissolution in October 1969 and the reallocation of its functions. Individual file series were not closed on its disbandment but continued in use for some time under successor departments. This is reflected in the dating of some files.

Date: 1945-1979
Separated material:

A flood in December 1984 in the basement of the departmental records office of the Department of the Environment, 1970-1997, destroyed a number of files.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of Economic Affairs, 1964-1969

Physical description: 28 series
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure
Immediate source of acquisition:

Department of the Environment

Administrative / biographical background:

October 1964: incoming Labour government created new office of Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (combined with First Secretary of State) and set up the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministers of the Crown Act 1964 to carry primary responsibility for long term economic planning.

Under the Act the posts of Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development were abolished.

George Brown appointed as First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, and as chairman of the National Economic Development Council (NEDC).

Composition of Department for Economic Affairs: most of Treasury's National Economy Group (excluding the short term forecasting team); economic planning staff from the National Economic Development Office (NEDO); the regional policy divisions from the Board of Trade; a team of industrial experts.

DEA charged with duty of formulating, with both sides of industry, a National Plan (published in September 1965), co-ordinating the work of other departments in implementing policies of economic growth, particularly in the fields of industry, the regions, and prices and incomes.

April 1966: DEA retained overall responsibility for prices and incomes policy but day to day administration passed to the appropriate departments.

August 1967: Prime Minister took overall command of DEA and chairmanship of NEDC. Responsibilities for overseas economic policy and relations with industry in preparation for entry into the European Economic Commumity were transferred to the Board of Trade.

April 1968: full control of DEA returned to the minister. Departmental responsibilities for prices and incomes policy (and many staff) transferred to new Department of Employment and Productivity.

October 1969: dissolution of DEA.

Functions in field of regional economic development, industrial planning and relations with the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation passed to the Ministry of Technology. The Prime Minister remained chairman of NEDC but general responsibility for it passed to Cabinet Office. Treasury took over medium and long term assessment and industrial policy towards the public sector responsibilities. A new Department of Local Government and Regional Planning (absorbed itself in the newly created Department of the Environment in 1970) took over functions relating to regional planning policies.

Dates of Divisions:

1964-1968 Economic Planning
1964-1969 Industrial Division
1964-1968 Economic Co-ordination
1964-1969 Regional Policy
1965 Integration of Commonwealth Immigrants
1964-1969 Internal Divisions
1964-1969 Private Office
1966-1969 Industrial Reorganisation Corporation

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