By Keith Middlemas
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Extra resources for Industry, Unions and Government: Twenty-One Years of NEDC
The Green Book's format virtually dictated which industries would be chosen, just as the willingness of the industry concerned and the capacity of the NEDO Industrial Division which took charge of them, determined which would be set up before the election of 1964. Much smaller than the Council, EDCs did not look for a numerical balance between the parties, but were in fact appointed subject to Council approval. The choice of chairman normally set the pattern of activity and successive Chancellors and NEDC Directors General took great care to attract talented men.
The excitement of probing fundamentals, and the processes of learning that followed, should not be underestimated. For many years, members looked back to the Orange Book and saw it, quintessentially, as defining NEDC's true aims. But the question followed: did NEDC have a role beyond inquiry and debate? How could it ensure action, achieve better industrial training and adequate investment, get managers to plan labour requirements as they did supply of raw materials? Was it enough to identify and confront the great problems, leaving it to government, industry and labour - all presumed to be rational partners - to implement NEDC's answers?
Spurred perhaps by the obvious unpopularity of their July measures, and by a favourable report from the Cohen Council,10 government allowed itself to appear more forthright. In the Commons' debate on 25-26 July 1961, Selwyn Lloyd hinted that tripartite talks aimed at achieving 3 per cent growth per annum in GNP and 6 per cent in exports would be desirable. They would include discussion about the next five years in different areas of demand, the pattern of labour supply and investment, the balance of payments and, of course, incomes growth and distribution, albeit in the context of productivity and dividends.