The LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre has a very interesting historical insight on how Birmingham’s decline began, Booming Birmingham and the Need for Rebalancing. The LSE has dug up a long factual quote from Smith and Sutcliffe’s History of Birmingham, Vol. III: Birmingham, 1939-70 (Oxford University Press, 1974) showing how the 1945 Labour government actively decided to throttle Birmingham, after which the… “incoming Labour Government of 1964” actively sought to stifle Birmingham’s vibrant services business success at the planning and policy level. A set of policies which, even before global de-industrialisation took a hand, had a negative effect — which was later greatly aided by the local municipal “concrete everything” policy in the 1960s, and the bloody-minded 1970s trades union socialism that infested the city’s big industries. Sadly the book is out-of-print, and appears totally unavailable online in scanned form.