2.1 -Mismanagement of the economy by
Conservative politicians .
2.1.1 -Failures of the interwar government to understand needs of
ordinary people and failure to provide 'a land for hereos
188.8.131.52 -Labour's attractive image and manifesto.
184.108.40.206.1 -Churchill's inability to carry wartime popularity to peacetime
220.127.116.11.1.1 -Conservatives ill-judged and unconvincing campaign.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 -Leading Labour figures had gained invaluable experience as ministers in the wartime coalition and had gained the
respect of the elctorate
3 The Welfare State
3.1 The concept of the welfare state refers to the state's provision of public measures and
support to achieve basic living standards and help those in need across society. Ideally,
the welfare state aims to relieve poverty, reduce inequality, and achieve greater social
integration and solidarity. Labour's reforms were based on the Beveridge Report so it
could not claim that it had created the ideas itself and it began tackling the five giants
identified by Beveridge.
22.214.171.124 Poverty was seen as the key social problem which affected all others. In 1946 the National Insurance
Act was passed which extended the Liberal Act of 1911 to include all adults. This provided
comprehensive insurance against most eventualities. It provided sickness and unemployment benefit,
retirement pension and widow and maternity benefit. It was said that social provision was made for
citizens from the 'cradle to the grave', catering for their needs from their time of birth to their death. In
the same year the Industrial Injuries Act was passed. The act made insurance against industrial injury
compulsory for all employees. Under the terms of the act, industrial injury benefits were to be paid at a
higher rate than for ordinary sickness. In 1948 the National Assistance Act was passed which provided
benefits for those not covered by the National Insurance Act. National Assistance Boards were set up to
help citizens whose resources were insufficient to meet their needs. However, benefit
126.96.36.199 In 1946 the National Health Service Act was passed and for the first time every British citizen could
receive medical, dental and optical services free of charge. Treatment by GPs and in hospitals was
free also. These benefits were free at point of use, no patient being asked to pay for any treatment.
However, the development of the NHS was hampered by the number of old and out of date
hospitals. Costs were high and by 1950 the idea of free treatment for all was undermined when
charges were introduced for spectacles and dental treatment.
188.8.131.52 Most of Britain still had slum areas and overcrowding was a serious problem made worse by bomb
damage during the war. To deal with the problem of squalor the government concentrated on the
building of decent homes for the working class after the war. The government aimed at building 200,000
houses a year and many of these were prefabricated houses which were assembled quickly onsite
184.108.40.206 In 1944 the war time Coalition government passed the Education act. The act was actually proposed by
the Conservatives, but after the 1945 general election, it was the Labour government that implemented
its measures. The act made secondary education compulsory until the age of 15 years and provided
meals, milk and medical services at every school. An examination at age 11 years (called the '11+')
placed children in certain types of school, according to their ability
220.127.116.11 After the war, there seemed to be work for everyone as Britain rebuilt itself. The Labour Government
succeeded in its commitment to maintain high levels of employment after the war. By 1946,
unemployment was reduced to 2.5 % and this was in spite of huge post-war problems such as
shortages of raw materials and massive war debts. One way in which the government kept almost full
employment was through nationalisation.
4 The Nationalisation programme
4.1 The coal, gas and electricity industries were taken into state control in 1947 as well as the transport
infrastructure. The iron and steel industry was nationalised in 1950 as was the Bank of England in 1946.
By the way, several smaller industries and services like cables and telecommunications and parts of the
hotel and catering trade were also in state hands by 1951. By then roughly 20 % of the national economy
was controlled by the state employing a workforce of over 2 million people.
5 The economic crisis
5.1 1947 saw a very harsh winter, a fuel shortage and a financial crisis - the gravest since 1931. Labour
embarked upon a series of 'austerity
5.1.1 An attempt was made to reduce the balance of payments
deficit by cutting down on imports
18.104.22.168 This affected imported foodstuffs especially and led to shortages and rationing.The 'black' market
provided extra rations for those who could afford it.
5.1.2 Domestic spending on social services was cut drastically
and in 1948 the government introduced a wage freeze.
5.1.3 Finally, in an effort to ease the situation, the pound sterling was devaluade from $4.03 to $2.80
6.1 Ernest Bevin: Foreign Secretary.
6.2 Hebert Morrison:Deputy PM
6.3 Hugh Dalton:Chancellor of Exchequer
(had to resign in 1947 for leaking
6.4 Aneurin Bevan: Minister of Health
6.5 Stafford Cripps: 1945-1947 Board of Trade, 1947-1950 Chancellor of Ex