Central-local tensions: the case of the Labour Party, regional government and land-use reform during the Second World War

Tichelar, Michael
June 2001
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Summer2001, Vol. 66 Issue 2, p187
Academic Journal
The article examines how the British Labour Party developed policies on the related issues of local government reform and land-use planning during the Second World War. It looks at the way the party at a national and local level formulated policy on these two areas and how they influenced each other. The article illustrates the degree to which the process of centralisation created by domestic war-time conditions, including the demand for land nationalisation which reached a peak at the height of the blitz, was diluted by opposition from Labour local authorities. In the case of local government reform and land use planning the Labour local authorities exercised a significant brake on the centralising tendencies of national policy making. The article also shows how the experience of the war both changed and legitimised Labour Party policy on land reform in a way that would have been unthinkable in the interwar period. Wide-ranging controls over income, property resources and people became not merely possible but morally and practically mandatory during wartime conditions.


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