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Mining Review 19/3: The Plan (1965)


Main image of Mining Review 19/3: The Plan (1965)
Mining Review, 19th Year No. 3
National Story - The Plan
November 1965
Production CompanyNational Coal Board Film Unit
SponsorNational Coal Board

A look at the likely impact of George Brown's National Plan on the coal industry between 1965 and 1970.

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Following Labour's General Election victory in 1964, the new Prime Minster Harold Wilson created a Department of Economic Affairs, headed by Deputy Labour Party leader George Brown. The purpose of the DEA was to prepare a National Plan for the British economy, which would examine every aspect of the country's development between 1965 and 1970 with the aim of significantly increasing productivity. It intended to achieve this by co-ordinating the work of other government departments in implementing policies of economic growth, particularly in the fields of industry, the regions and prices and incomes.

This Mining Review item concentrates on the plan's likely impact on the coal industry. It notes that Lord Robens, the then Chairman of the National Coal Board, disputed the plan's claim that British coal output could be shrunk to 170-180 million tons per year, believing that 200 million was a more realistic figure to allow the industry to operate most efficiently. Robens felt that the authors of the plan underestimated the benefits of modern technology (ironically, since Wilson's government was elected on the back of its promise to harness "the white heat of technology").

However, even if the figures are accurate, the tone is upbeat, saying that this will not mean any additional mine closures over and above those already planned. Most optimistically of all, it claims that the vast majority of miners will not only not have to move, they will remain secure in jobs for life. Twenty years later, the coal industry was devastated following the disastrous 1984-85 miners' strike - but by then the National Plan had long been abandoned.

Michael Brooke

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Video Clips
Complete item (2:14)
Complete newsreel (10:06)
Mining Review 19/3: People Who Matter - The Apprentice (1965)
Mining Review: 19th Year (1965-66)