British Political history 1945-90: consensus and conflict edexcel as- Heath, 1970-1974

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Heath, 19701974
Heath ­break with consensus ­ less gov intervention, hands off ­
"Selsdon man" ­ wanted to "reduce the rise in prices, increase
productivity and reduce unemployment" ­ "new right" ­ Wilson called
it "uncaring" decided to abandon incomes policy and allow the market
forces to operate
Industrial Relations Act, 1971 ­ make employer/employee bargaining fair
­ restricted striking rights, set sup NIRC, required unions to register with
Set up DTI ­ John Davies ­ decided not to help "lame ducks" with public
More new right economic policies ­ Chancellor Anthony Barber ­ tax
cuts, reduced gvt spending ­ less council house subsidies, withdrawal of
free school milk, "Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher" ­ some success in new
right policy
Uturns ­ 15% inflation by 1971 ­ so returned to prices and incomes
Abandoned nonintervention ­ nationalised RollsRoyce, 1971 £34
million paid to Upper Clyde Shipbuilders
Unions ­ angry at Industrial Relations Act, refused to register ­ impossible
to enforce Act ­ gvt lost control, not firm ­ series of wildcat strikes
NUM and Scargill called strike with flying pickets to disrupt fuel ­ Heath
could have avoided this as Gormley tipped him off about an unsocial hours
payment but had not held it back for bargaining purposes state of
emergency declared and threeday week implemented, 1973 ­ eventually
NUM received 21% wage rise, nearly 3 times original amount offered ­
NUM encouraged and went on strike again, 1974 ­ Heath called
election, asking "who governs" ­ lost
International factors ­ OPEC decided to punish Western countries who
backed Israel during the Yom Kippur War ­ oil increased from $2 to $35 a
barrel between 1973 and 1980 ­ worsened coal strikes situation ­ fuel, oil
based products like plastic become more expensive ­ Britain suffers
Bloody Sunday ­ 30th January ­ religious tensions in Ireland ­13
civilians killed by British troops in Derry, Northern Ireland

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EEC ­ seen as Heath's only success ­ joined 1st January 1973 ­ weak
bargaining position
Advantages ­ access to European markets, foreign business,
development grants, right to work in other EEC countries
But disadvantages outweighed benefits ­ unable to buy cheap food from
Commonwealth ­ CAP added £1000 to annual food bill ­ VAT
increase from 8% to 17.5% contributed more than received in grants ­
sovereignty impinged upon e.g.…read more


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