The 1920s witnessed the onset of high and persistent unemployment concentrated in the industrial areas of ‘outer Britain’; their staple industries being plunged into deep depression which, while varying in severity, was not to lift until the Second World War. Depression in these dominant industries sapped local purchasing power, thus further depressing economic conditions. In 1929 unemployment in the northern English, 1 Welsh, and Scottish Ministry of Labour divisions averaged 15.0 per cent, compared to an average of only 7.7 per cent in the London and South East, South West, and Midlands divisions. By the next cyclical peak, in 1937, differentials had widened still further – unemployment averaging 17.3 per cent in outer, and 7.1 per cent in inner, Britain. 2 Meanwhile new industrial development had largely bypassed the north; during 1932–38 Scotland, Wales, and England’s northern region 3 accounted for only 8.32 per cent of new British manufacturing plants with an initial employment of 25 or more. 4