British Living Standards

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  • British Living Standards (1951-1979)
    • Incomes
      • Real disposable income rose 30% in the '50s
        • 22% in the '60s
        • 30% in the '70s
      • Higher wages meant people spent a smaller proportion of their income on food, clothes, and more on housing and entertainment.
      • Home ownership increased from 29% of the population in '50 to over 50% in '70
      • Car ownership in the same period rose from 16% to 52%
    • Wants and needs
      • Gas sales more than doubled between '51 and '70, which electricity sales quadrupled.
      • Central heating increased from 5% of homes in '60, to 50% in '77 and 84% in '91
        • This allowed greater movement in the house.
      • Almost every household had a TV by '70.
      • Money spent on advertising rose threefold between '47 and '70
      • Old Spice advertiseme-nt after 1957 contributed to more males using deodorant.
        • Before, only 32% of women aged 16 to 64 used deodorant + hardly any men used the widely regarded effeminate product.
      • Fashions like 'The Look meant that (from the mid-'60s), guessing a young woman's class by her dress was impossible.
        • Mary Quant was a high-end boutique that ruled London's King's Road and Carnaby Street
        • Biba was a boutique for more working-class girls, with cheaper clothes being sold in their London shops.
    • Shops
      • Was the 1950s opening of Sainsbury's in Croydon that marked the permanent start of the supermarket era.
      • End of food rationing between '51-'54 gave food sales a boost.
      • Roling back of the Retail Price Maintenance (a minimum price limit) allowed supermarkets to flourish.
        • Restrictive Trade Practices Act (1956) undermined its use on grocery products.
        • Resale Prices Act (1964) virtually abolished RPM, except in cases where it was though to be in the best interests of the public.
      • '59, there were 286 supermarkets
        • This increased to 572 in '61
        • This increased to over 3,500 by '71
      • Competition generated by this led to the closure of 60,000 local stores.
      • The Consumer Association was founded in 1957, and they launched 'Which?' magazine.
      • A Ministry for Consumer Affairs aimed to protect consumers.
    • Consumer Credit
      • Before '74, local moneylenders used by poor people weren't well-regulated.
        • The moneylende-rs were also abusive and charged extortionate interest rates.
      • 1974- Consumer Credit Act = clarified the rights and responsibilit-ies of lenders and borrowers, and paved the way for an explosion of consumer borrowing in the '80s and '90s.
        • Inspired by the '71 Crowther Report


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