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Local Business VoiceThe History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland, and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011$
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Robert J. Bennett

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584734.001.0001

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National Voice and Local Voice

National Voice and Local Voice

(p.291) 8 National Voice and Local Voice
Local Business Voice

Robert J. Bennett

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides the first overview of how tensions between local chambers and national bodies were resolved. Early initiatives were a Union of Chambers, the General Chamber of Manufacturers, and agents in London. The National association for chambers of commerce, established in 1860, was replicated in the chambers of trade, trade protection societies, etc.; and in Ireland in 1923. The chapter shows that these associations were slow to settle down, with many major chambers not joining, and Liverpool prominently leaving after one year. Detailed analysis shows the clash of local independence with attempts to enforce a common view. Tensions continue to the present. The chapter analyses the tussles and different plans. Efforts by the association to improve local chambers have often been resisted; but after 1990 an accreditation and benchmarking system in the UK has been successful, and copied in Ireland and Canada.

Keywords:   National association, localism, central-local relations, performance benchmarking, London political agents, Board of Trade

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