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Public governance of private munitions businesses in regional Britain, the case of Wales, 1938 to 1945

Gooberman, Leon ORCID: 2021. Public governance of private munitions businesses in regional Britain, the case of Wales, 1938 to 1945. Business History 10.1080/00076791.2021.1979520

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This article analyses the public governance of the private British munitions industry from 1938 to 1945. It uses a case study of Wales to make two arguments. One is that public regional governance was contested and slow to emerge, although ultimately successful. Governance was initially centralised and uncoordinated as three supply ministries competed to source munitions. Floorspace controls were introduced in 1941 but ministries rebuffed other attempts to co-ordinate regional procurement. However, capacity problems throughout Britain incentivised co-operation from 1942, when a new Ministry of Production created effective regional structures. The other argument is that business activity in Wales intensified as structures emerged. Mobilisation focussed initially on concentrations of secondary manufacturing, but Wales was dominated by primary industries and few businesses were producing munitions by mid-1940. Nevertheless, air raids and capacity shortages elsewhere prompted an influx controlled increasingly by regional structures that governed a munitions industry dominated by private businesses.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0007-6791
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 1 September 2021
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2023 00:19

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