Pigearbejde? Derwentside kommunes ny private servicesektor økonomi: The New Private Service Sector Economy of Derwentside District

Lone Krogsgaard-Hansen, Ray Hudson, Susanne Schech

    Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til rapportForskning


    The closure of the British Steel Corporation's Consett works in 1980 was an event of profound cultural and economic significance within the town and the surrounding Derwentside District. In many ways, it symbolised the deindustrialisation of that District and brought it to the forefront of public debate. It was not, however, that industrial decline there was a recent development. It had been progressing apace for the previous two decades as colliery after colliery closed as a result of the policies of another nationalised industry (see Hudson, 1989, 127-92). Indeed, in 1990, it was argued that "the majority of the area's prevailing social and economic difficulties are traced to the massive decline which the coal industry has suffered" (Durham County Council 1990, 41). Despite the devastation resulting from past colliery closures, these went largely uncontested, in part because of promises of alternative jobs. But these earlier efforts to counter the collapse of coal mining via the construction of an alternative branch plant economy had only had a limited effect. Thus the not entirely unexpected closure of the Consett works, which despite previous employment reductions was still far and away the biggest single manufacturing plant in the District, raised the spectre of generalised economic and social crises in and around Consett. It was also evident that one effect of the collapse of manufacturing employment between 1978 and 1981 was to make Derwentside relatively much more dependent on service sector employment. Whilst employment in services fell from over 13,300 in 1978 to just under 12,200 in 1981 as a result of downward multiplier effects, service employment as a proportion of total employment rose from 45 per cent to 65 per cent.
    But, whilst there was a relative switch from manufacturing to services, it was to service activities that were also dominated by the public sector, with central and local government and the services that these controlled and supplied providing the majority of such jobs. This was very much a legacy of both local and national political histories. At local level, the paternalistic provision of services such as education, health and housing by the Consett Iron Company from the latter part of the nineteenth century was gradually shifted to local government. This was in response to local demands expressed through the emergent institutions of the Labour Party at local level within a space provided by national government legislation. With the election of a Labour Government at national level in 1945, this process of state provision of services that were central to the living conditions of the vast majority of the population was heavily reinforced. In places such as Consett this resulted in the state playing a central role across a wide spectrum of social and economic life, from the organisation of production to the underpinning of social reproduction, providing services that were formerly provided either by the family and/or through the allocation mechanisms of the market. Thus the closure of Consett steelworks in 1980 not only led to a greater relative dependence upon a service sector but upon one that was dominated by the state (see Hudson, 1992).
    Bidragets oversatte titelPigearbejde? Derwentside kommunes ny private servicesektor økonomi
    TitelJobs for Girls? The New Private Service Sector Economy of Derwentside District : The New Private Service Sector Economy of Derwentside District
    Antal sider96
    ForlagDurham University
    Publikationsdato1 jan. 1992
    StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 1992
    NavnOccasional Publication, Durham University, Geography Department