Economy 1951-1964


Economy 1951-1964


  • Nationalisation of iron and steel (1951) - The experiences of the war had gave way for attitudes which allowed people to understand state planning and intervention.
  • Age of Affluence - Men's wages went up (£8.30 in 1951 - £15.35 in 1961). Increases in private savings.
  • Home Ownership and Car Ownership increased - Easy access to cheap mortgages, Macmillan pledged to build 300,000 new homes every year.
  • Rise in consumer goods - Televisions, washing machines, fridges and new furniture. Credit was also introduced then! The advertising industry boomed, with ITV launching the age of commercial broadcasting in 1955.
  • Trade Unions - These were extremely powerful and had a lot of influence in society, also, this can be because coal and railways had been nationalised. So the government wanted to ensure a good relationship.
  • 'Give-away' budget - Butler introduced this, to raise election prospects, this gave the middle class £134 million of tax cuts.


  • EEC Rejection (1963) - The first rejection was based on the economic means. The fact that we were financially in trouble, yet the rest of Europe was financially prosperous, indicated we should apply, but Charles De Gaulle vetoed the entrance.
  • Massive financial crisis caused by Suez Crisis - There was an oil crisis, this happened due to the lack of trade links that couldn't go through Suez. Britain had to ask the US for a loan. 'Not another dime'.
  • Steel and Transport denationalised in 1953.
  • Run on the pound - A rapid fall in the value of the pound in international currency markets in relation to the US dollar. Pressure from the USA.


In this era, we lived in a age of prosperity and affluence, it had never been so good! There were several changes in industry and trade unions had a strong influence on politics and industry. Life in terms of disposable income, had increased and the purchase of consumer goods boomed.


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