CAB 71 - War Cabinet, Lord President's Committee, Minutes and Papers.

This series consists of minutes and papers of the Lord President's Committee, the Air Raid Damage and Shelter Policy Committee, the Service Travel Committee, the Committee on Emergency Legislation, the Industrial Sub-Committee, and the Sub-Committees on Accommodation and Supply of Books.

The Lord President's (L.P.) Committee was the principal committee covering home affairs during the Second World War. Its function was to ensure co-ordination of the Production Council and the Economic Policy (E.P.), Food Policy (F.P.), Home Policy (H.P.), and Civil Defence (C.D.) Committees. On 4 June 1940, it was announced in Parliament that Clement Attlee (as chair of the H.P. and F.P. Committees), Arthur Greenwood (as chair of the E.P. Committee and Production Council), Sir John Anderson (as chair of the C.D. Committee), and Sir Kingsley Wood (Chancellor of the Exchequer) would meet under the chairmanship of Neville Chamberlain (Lord President of the Council) to direct and co-ordinate their work. Chamberlain resigned due to ill health on 3 October 1940 and was succeeded by Anderson as Lord President of the Council. The committee was restructured as a steering committee consisting of Attlee, Greenwood, and Wood, plus Ernest Bevin (Minister of Labour and National Service), Sir Andrew Duncan (Minister of Supply), and Herbert Morrison (Home Secretary). Its terms of reference were:

  • to keep continuous watch on behalf of the War Cabinet over the general trend of economic development.
  • To concert the work of the economic committees, and to deal with any differences not requiring reference to the War Cabinet.
  • To deal with any residual matters and special questions which arise from time to time.

The range of subjects dealt with by the L.P. Committee was varied. From its inception, the committee dealt with prices, wages and financial policies, home consumption, foreign trade, and export surpluses. From the beginning of 1941, the committee gradually emerged as the principal body of the War Cabinet in co-ordinating the social and economic aspects of the war on the home front, taking over many of the functions of the E.P. Committee (abolished in January 1941), and the H.P. and F.P. Committees (both abolished in 1942). From 1941, the L.P. Committee also had at its disposal the economists who had previously formed part of the Central Economic Information Service.

On 24 September 1943, Anderson became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was succeeded by Attlee as Lord President of the Council. The L.P. Committee continued throughout and after the Second World War until October 1951, when it was dissolved and succeeded by the Home Affairs Committee.

Click here to see a full breakdown of the ministers and officials who reported to the Lord President's Committee.

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