Economic League

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Peter Savill stood down as Director General in 1986 for personal reasons to do with his wife’s health, but he immediately joined the Central Council of the Economic League. His successor, Michael Noar who was recruited from the Federation of Civil Engineering Employers Contractors (FCEC), for whom he had worked for 23 years.

Since the 1920’s The Labour Research Department had been tracking and publicising the league and its blacklist, and there were occasional exposes in newspapers. But the scale of its operation was never fully grasped or acknowledged by the leadership of the Labour Party and Trade’s Unions who were themselves often challenged by radical activists who were blacklisted. But it was hard to maintain this dismissive response when [Richard Brett]] began leaking information and documents to journalists about the Leagues’s continuing blacklisting activities, including the Kardex index from the North West’s region journalists. On it there were thousands of ordinary trade union members, Labour Party members, Members of Parliament and some people who had no political connections or interests at all. The most damaging and extensive revelations were made in three prime time “World in Action” television programmes. These led the UK Parliament’s Employment Select Committee to conduct a public inquiry into the League’s activities. The massive scale of their operations shocked many who had been actively opposing it. For example Ford appeared, and admitted that until 1990 it had screened all UK job Applicants through the Economic League. Its final report in 1992 was highly critical of their blacklisting activities and had Labour won the 1992 General Election, the League would have faced legislation. It was only a temporary stay of execution. The sustained media made the task of retaining the support of existing subscribers impossible attracting new ones was out of the question. Existing subscribers, especially those who used the blacklisting facilities extensively, were not happy with the publicity. In 1993 the Economic League went into liquidation, and claimed that the blacklist had been destroyed.

In the year following the it is dissolution it emerged that two former senior League employees ,Jack Winder and Stan Hardy, had established a company called Caprim to undertake some of the roles the League had undertaken. Although soon a group called The Consulting Association was formed. powerbase

Former Central Council members

Source: Mark Hollingsworth and Richard Norton-Taylor, Blacklist: The inside story of political vetting.

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