The Board of Trade is a British government body concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade.Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, but is commonly known as the Board of Trade, and formerly known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations or Lords of Trade, and it has been a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The board has gone through several evolutions, beginning with extensive involvement in colonial matters in the 17th century, to powerful regulatory functions in the Victorian Era and early 20th century. It was virtually dormant in the last third of 20th century. In 2017, it was revitalised as an advisory board headed by the International Trade Secretary who has nominally held the title of President of the Board of Trade, and who at present is the only privy counsellor of the board, the other members of the present board filling roles as advisers.
The board was first established as a temporary committee of England's Privy Council to advise on colonial (plantation) questions in the early 17th century, when these settlements were initially forming. The board would evolve gradually into a government department with considerable power and a diverse range of functions,including regulation of domestic and foreign commerce, the development, implementation and interpretation of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, and the review and acceptance of legislation passed in the colonies. Between 1696 and 1782 the Board of Trade, in partnership with the various secretaries of state over that time, held responsibility for colonial affairs, particularly in British America. The newly created office of Home Secretary then held colonial responsibility until 1801, when the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was established. Between 1768 and 1782 while with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whose secretaryship was held jointly with the presidency of the Board of Trade, the latter position remained largely vacant; this led to a diminished status of the board and it became an adjunct to the new department and ministry concerns. Following the loss of the American War of Independence, both the board and the short-lived secretaryship were dismissed by the king on 2 May 1782 and the board was abolished later by the Civil List and Secret Service Money Act 1782 (22 Geo. III, c 82).
Following the Treaty of Paris 1783, with the continuing need to regulate trade between its remaining colonies, the independent United States and all other countries, a new Committee of Council on Trade and Plantations (later known as 'the First Committee') was established by William Pitt the Younger. Initially mandated by an Order in Council on 5 March 1784, the committee was reconstructed and strengthened by a second order, on 23 August 1786, under which it operated for the rest of its existence. The committee has been known as the Board of Trade since 1786, but this name was only officially adopted by an act of 1861. The new board's first functions were consultative like earlier iterations, and its concern with plantations, in matters such as the approval of colonial laws, more successfully accomplished. As the Industrial Revolution expanded, the board's work became increasingly executive and domestic. From the 1840s, a succession of acts of parliament gave it regulatory duties, notably concerning railways, merchant shipping and joint-stock companies.
This department was merged with the Ministry of Technology in 1970, to form the Department of Trade and Industry. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (from 2009 Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills) was also President of the Board of Trade. The full board has met only once since the mid-20th century, during commemorations of the bicentenary of the board in 1986. In 2016, the role of President of the Board of Trade was transferred to the Secretary of State for International Trade.The board was reconstituted in October 2017.
In 1622, at the end of the Dutch Twelve Years' Truce, King James I directed the Privy Council of England to establish a temporary committee to investigate the causes of various economic and supply problems, the decline in trade and consequent financial difficulties; detailed instructions and questions were given, with answers to be given "as fast as the several points shall be duly considered by you."This would be followed by a number of temporary committees and councils to regulate the colonies and their commerce. The board's formal title remains "The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations".
In 1634, Charles I appointed a new commission for regulating plantations.It was headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury with its primary goals to increase royal authority and the influence of the Church of England in the colonies, particularly with the great influx of Puritans to the New World. Soon after, the English Civil Wars erupted and initiated a long period of political instability in England and the resultant loss of productivity for these committees. Between 1643 and 1648 the Long Parliament would establish a parliamentary Commission for Plantations to take the lead in colonial and commercial affairs. This period also saw the first regulation of royal tonnage and poundage and begin the modernization of customs and excise as growing sources of government revenue.
During the Interregnum and Commonwealth three acts of the Rump Parliament in 1650 and 1651 are notable in the historical development of England's commercial and colonial programs. These include the first Commission of Trade to be established by an Act of Parliament on 1 August 1650.The instructions to the named commissioners, headed by Henry Vane the Younger, included consideration of both domestic and foreign trade, the trading companies, manufactures, free ports, customs, excise, statistics, coinage and exchange, and fisheries, as well as the plantations and the best means of promoting their welfare and rendering them useful to England. The act's statesmanlike and comprehensive instructions, along with an October act prohibiting trade with pro-royalist colonies and the Navigation Act of October 1651, formed the first definitive expression of England's commercial policy. They represent the first attempt to establish a legitimate control of commercial and colonial affairs, and the instructions indicate the beginnings of a policy which had the prosperity and wealth of England exclusively at heart.
It was the Lords of Trade who, in 1675, originated the idea of transforming all of the colonies in America into Royal Colonies for the purpose of securing English trade against the French. They brought New Hampshire under the Crown, modified Penn's charter, refused a charter to the Plymouth colony, and taking advantage of the concessions of the charters of Massachusetts and New York, created the Dominion of New England in 1685, thereby transforming all the territory from the Kennebec to the Delaware into a single crown colony.
In 1696, King William III appointed eight paid commissioners to promote trade in the American plantations and elsewhere. Staff appointed to serve the board in 1696 included a secretary, a deputy secretary, some clerks, office keepers, messengers, and a necessary woman; more staff such as a solicitor and a porter were added later.The Lords Commissioners of Trade and Foreign Plantations, commonly known as the Lords of Trade, did not constitute a committee of the Privy Council, but were, in fact, members of a separate body. The board carried on this work but also had long periods of inactivity, devolving into chaos after 1761 and dissolved in 1782 by an act of Parliament by the Rockingham Whigs.
William Pitt the Younger re-established the committee in 1784, and an Order in Council of 23 August 1786 provided the formal basis that still remains in force. A secretariat was established which included the president, vice president and board members. By 1793, the board still remained in its old structure, with 20 members including the Archbishop of Canterbury.After 1820 the board ceased to meet regularly and the business was carried out entirely by the secretariat. The short name of "Board of Trade" was formalised in 1861.
In the 19th century the board had an advisory function on economic activity in the UK and its empire. During the second half of the 19th century it also dealt with legislation for patents, designs and trademarks, company regulation, labour and factories, merchant shipping, agriculture, transport, power etc. Colonial matters passed to the Colonial Office and other functions were devolved to newly created departments, a process that continued for much of the 20th century.
The original commission comprised the seven (later eight) Great Officers of State, who were not required to attend meetings, and the eight paid members, who were required to attend. The board, so constituted, had little real power, and matters related to trade and the colonies were usually within the jurisdiction of the secretaries of state and the Privy Council, with the board confining itself mainly to colonial administration.
In 1905, David Lloyd George entered the new Liberal Cabinet of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as President of the Board of Trade. : 63
The first priority on taking office was the repeal of the 1902 Education Act. Lloyd George took the lead along with Augustine Birrell, President of the Board of Education. Lloyd George was the dominant figure on the committee drawing up the bill in its later stages and insisted that the bill create a separate education committee for Wales. : 74–77 The bill passed the House of Commons greatly amended but was completely mangled by the House of Lords. No compromise was possible and the bill was abandoned, allowing the 1902 Act to continue in effect. Nonconformists were bitterly upset by the failure of the Liberal Party to reform the 1902 Education Act, its most important promise to them, and over time their support for the Liberal Party slowly fell away.
According to Martin Roberts, Lloyd George headed a department of 750 experts that was responsible for supervising British industry, commerce and transportation. Using their pool of expertise, he initiated a series of reforms that were quickly endorsed by the Liberal Parliament.One of the first actions was the Census of Production Act 1906, which generated a Survey of production—an up-to-date compendium of detailed statistics necessary for regulating specific industries. In 1906, the Merchant Shipping Act upgraded the minimum working conditions, and the safety protections for both British sailors, and crews of foreign ships that used British ports. In 1907, the Patents and Design Act gave financial protection to British designs to stop unfair foreign copies. In the long term, his most important innovation was creating the Port of London Authority in 1908. It merged numerous inefficient and overlapping private companies and gave unified supervision to Britain's most important port. That enabled London to compete more effectively with Hamburg and Rotterdam.
Lloyd George also turned his attention to strikes and industrial disputes in shipyards. He was instrumental in settling the serious threat of a national railway strike in 1907. While almost all the rail companies refused to recognise the unions, he persuaded them to recognise elected representatives of the workers who sat with the company representatives on conciliation boards—one for each company. If those boards failed to agree then an arbitrator would be called upon. : 69–73
H. H. Asquith succeeded the terminally ill prime minister on 8 April 1908 and, four days later, Winston Churchill was appointed President of the Board of Trade, succeeding Lloyd George who became Chancellor of the Exchequer. He continued the reform impulse Lloyd George had launched.One of Churchill's first tasks was to arbitrate in an industrial dispute among ship-workers and employers on the River Tyne. He afterwards established a Standing Court of Arbitration to deal with future industrial disputes, establishing a reputation as a conciliator. In Cabinet, he worked with Lloyd George to champion social reform. He promoted what he called a "network of State intervention and regulation" akin to that in Germany.
Churchill's main achievements came in 1909. First was the Labour Exchanges Bill. It set up over 200 labour exchanges with William Beveridge in charge. The unemployed would come in and be assisted in finding employment. He also promoted the idea of an unemployment insurance scheme, which would be part-funded by the state.Secondly he introduced the Trade Boards Bill, creating trade boards which investigated the sweated trades and enabled the prosecution of exploitative employers. Passing with a large majority, it established the principle of a minimum wage and the right of workers to have meal breaks. Churchill introduced the Mines Eight Hours Bill, which legally prohibited miners from working more than an eight-hour day.
Sydney Buxton served as president between 1910 and 1914. His main role was passage of numerous specific trade and commerce laws.
From 1973, international trade policy of the United Kingdom was a competence of the European Economic Community, and later of the European Union. The board was reconstituted in October 2017, after the UK had voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.In its most recent iteration in 2017, only privy counsellors can be actual members of the board, while others are appointed as advisers.
There is only one standing member in the Board, who is its President.
The Board is held accountable to Parliament through ministers attached to the Board, who are not necessarily members.
Advisers to the Board appointed in September 2020 or sitting ex officio.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories, some Commonwealth countries and a few institutions in the United Kingdom. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Council, the Privy Council formerly acted as the court of last resort for the entire British Empire, and continues to act as the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth nations, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories.
The Navigation Acts, or more broadly the Acts of Trade and Navigation, were a long series of English laws that developed, promoted, and regulated English ships, shipping, trade, and commerce between other countries and with its own colonies. The laws also regulated England's fisheries and restricted foreigners' participation in its colonial trade. While based on earlier precedents, they were first enacted in 1651 under the Commonwealth.
The lord president of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking below the Lord High Treasurer but above the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends and is responsible for presiding over meetings of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, presenting business for the monarch's approval. In the modern era, the holder is by convention always a member of one of the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and the office is normally a Cabinet post.
The secretary of state for the colonies or colonial secretary was the British Cabinet minister in charge of managing the United Kingdom's various colonial dependencies.
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon,, styled The Honourable F. J. Robinson until 1827 and known between 1827 and 1833 as The Viscount Goderich, the name by which he is best known to history, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1827 to 1828.
The president of the Board of Trade is head of the Board of Trade. This is a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, first established as a temporary committee of inquiry in the 17th century, that evolved gradually into a government department with a diverse range of functions. The current holder is Kemi Badenoch, who is concurrently the Secretary of State for International Trade.
The governments of the Thirteen Colonies of British America developed in the 17th and 18th centuries under the influence of the British constitution. After the Thirteen Colonies had become the United States, the experience under colonial rule would inform and shape the new state constitutions and, ultimately, the United States Constitution.
Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire,, known as The 2nd Viscount Hillsborough from 1742 to 1751 and as The 1st Earl of Hillsborough from 1751 to 1789, was a British politician of the Georgian era.
The Parliament of Ireland was the legislature of the Lordship of Ireland, and later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the Parliament of England and from 1537 comprised two chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Lords were members of the Irish peerage and bishops. The Commons was directly elected, albeit on a very restricted franchise. Parliaments met at various places in Leinster and Munster, but latterly always in Dublin: in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Chichester House (1661–1727), the Blue Coat School (1729–31), and finally a purpose-built Parliament House on College Green.
Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton,, known as Philip Lloyd-Greame until 1924 and as The Viscount Swinton between 1935 and 1955, was a prominent British Conservative politician from the 1920s until the 1950s. He was notable through the 1940s and 1950s as being firstly the Minsiter for Aviation, and then being on the steering committee for the Convention on International Civil Aviation. he retired from politics in 1955 and his status was raised to an earldom.
Liberal David Lloyd George formed a coalition government in the United Kingdom in December 1916, and was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George V. It replaced the earlier wartime coalition under H. H. Asquith, which had been held responsible for losses during the Great War. Those Liberals who continued to support Asquith served as the Official Opposition. The government continued in power after the end of the war in 1918, though Lloyd George was increasingly reliant on the Conservatives for support. After several scandals including allegations of the sale of honours, the Conservatives withdrew their support after a meeting at the Carlton Club in 1922, and Bonar Law formed a government.
William Blathwayt was an English diplomat, public official and Whig politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1685 and 1710. He established the War Office as a department of the British Government and played an important part in administering the English colonies of North America.
Winston Churchill formed the third Churchill ministry in the United Kingdom after the 1951 general election. He was reappointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George VI and oversaw the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 and her coronation.
The Conservative government of the United Kingdom that began in 1957 and ended in 1964 consisted of three ministries: the first Macmillan ministry, second Macmillan ministry, and then the Douglas-Home ministry. They were respectively led by Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who were appointed by Queen Elizabeth II.
British America comprised the colonial territories of the English Empire, which after the 1707 union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain became the British Empire, in the Americas from 1607 to 1783. Prior to the union, this was termed English America, excepting Scotland's failed attempts to establish its own colonies. Following the union, these colonies were formally known as British America and the British West Indies before the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and formed the United States of America.
The Liberal government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that began in 1905 and ended in 1915 consisted of two ministries: the first led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman and the final three by H. H. Asquith.
The Lords of Trade and Plantations was a permanent administrative body formed by Charles II in 1675 to provide consistent advice to the Privy Council regarding the management of the growing number of English colonies. It replaced a series of temporary committees which had been set up to run the colonies since 1624. Following the Restoration of Charles II there were separate committees for trade and plantations until 1672, when a committee combining both remits was established. In 1675, named the Lords of Trade and Plantations, the committee had gained a more stable form. It was replaced by the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations in 1696.
The Commissioners for Trade and Plantations was a body formed by the British Crown on 15 May 1696 to promote trade and to inspect and improve the plantations of the British colonies. It was the successor of various previous bodies set up in the seventeenth century, particularly the Lords of Trade and Plantations (1675–1696). It lasted until its abolition in 1782. It carried out its duties by maintaining correspondence with colonial governors, conducting inquiries, hearing complaints and interviewing merchants and colonial agents. The information so obtained was used to advise King and Parliament. The new board did not exercise executive authority and had no significant powers of appointment. Nevertheless it exerted significant influence owing to its specialised knowledge and the maintenance of an extensive archive.