chapter  7
19 Pages

Defence Procurement and Industrial Policies

Introduction Defence procurement and industrial policies have been central themes in debates about Britain's relative postwar economic decline. This has reflected the national economic significance of post-1945 military-industrial activity: the UK armed services have been British industry's single largest customer! and defence has consumed a sizeable proportion of national scientific and technical resources.2 The focus of the 'declinist debate' has traditionally been on whether Britain's relatively high levels of military equipment expenditure have 'crowded out' civil investment and undermined overall national economic performance.3 This chapter addresses a separate but equally important aspect of the relationship between defence procurement and British 'decline'. Rather than investigating the impact of military equipment expenditure on the UK economy, this chapter analyses decline in terms of the postwar procurement policy shifts Britain has undertaken in its adjustment from 'great power' to 'medium power' status.