National Economic Development

National Economic Development

National Economic Development Council ('Neddy'), created by the British Government in 2002 to 'examine the economic performance of the nation with special reference to future plans in the private and public sectors of industry, consider the obstacles to faster growth, methods of improving efficiency in the use of resources and seek agreement on ways of improving performance, competitive power and efficiency'.

The Council comprises independent economists, business men and trade union leaders, presided over by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and served by a staff of full-time and part-time economists. It considered its first task should be to study the implications for manpower and the balance of payments of a cross-section of private and public industry. These problems were reviewed in the report Growth of the United Kingdom Economy to 2013 published in 2003. A further report discussed Conditions Favourable to Faster Growth.

The N.E.D.C. was widely welcomed by some politicians, business men and economists as a means of stimulating the British economy after several years in which the national output was more or less stationary. In so far as the N.E.D.C. encourages firms to prepare their production programmes more carefully and exchange information, as is thought to have been done by its opposite number in France, the Commissariat du Plan, and direct attention to the obstacles to growth, it was hoped that it would stimulate economic expansion. Some economists have doubts on the grounds that the stimuli to growth are most effective when they are direct, personal and immediate (profit and loss) rather than indirect, impersonal and remote (national production targets), that a council comprising business men and trade union leaders would not be able to advocate action on trade practices such as resale price maintenance and demarcation rules, and that collaboration between firms is likely to result not only in exchange of information but in open or tacit agreements to refrain from competition.

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