The new regional divide: 1870–1914
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The new regional divide: 1870–1914 book
As Cain and Hopkins noted, while 'between 1750 and 1850, the economic tide had run in favour of the industrial provinces it swung decisively back again, to the traditional centre of wealth and power, in the Victorian and Edwardian epoch.' Services and income from overseas investments made a large and growing contribution to Britain's balance of payments, progressively 'crowding out' its visible exports. Britain's staple industries were particularly vulnerable to the Dutch disease effect on relative UK prices, as overseas purchasers could easily substitute foreign for British goods. Research on Britain's Dutch disease problem has generally focused on receipts from overseas investments, rather than on invisible exports in general. The entry of overseas multinationals gathered pace during the Edwardian era, a time when evidence points to a dip in the rate of productivity growth for domestic industry. Tariff protection reduced the risks faced by manufacturers contemplating costly long-term and large-scale investment in mass production plant.