The Steel Industry, 1939-1959: A Study in Competition and Planning

By Duncan Burn | Go to book overview
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Chapter IV
THE FIRST PLAN 1945-1950

The first landmark in the steel industry's history after the Second World War was the development plan presented to the Government in December 1945, and published by the Government six months later.1 It marked the culmination of the work started back in 1943. But, by the time it was being finished, the dominant personalities had changed again, and the balance of power had swung back closer to the pattern of 1935. Macdiarmid had died in the summer of 1945, a severe loss because he was not only President of the Federation but, on the record, the industry's most adventurous leader. Sir Ellis Hunter, who took his place as President, was to remain so, contrary to precedent, for over seven years. He was soon to become famed for the tenacity with which he clung to the policies he supported. Sir Andrew Duncan returned as independent chairman in September 1945 and, with Mr Robert Shone, who became the Federation's Economic Director, was again, in the months when the plan was taking its final shape, the architect of the Federation's policy. This triumvirate was to lead the Federation throughout its ultimately successful opposition to nationalisation.2

The Federation's plan grew, naturally, out of the 'practical planning' of the later war years; and much of it had already become familiar by partial statements of the Federation and the firms. But when the known details were presented together as

____________________
1
Reports by the British Iron and Steel Federation and the Joint Iron Council to the Ministry of Supply, Cmd. 6811 ( May 1946). The first of these is referred to in the notes as Rep. B.I.S.F.
2
Sir John Duncanson, Steel Controller from 1943 to 1945, became Commercial and Technical Director of the B.I.S.F. in Aug. 1945. He made the first public statement on the progress of the steel plan on behalf of the Federation ( The Times, 23 July 1945). He left to become managing director of Lithgows in 1949, and later a director of the Lancashire Steel Corporation.

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