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Britain 1900-51 (OCR)

Period Study- Britain c.1918-51
Economic issues 1918-39

1. Effect of WW1 on economic conditions
2. Problems of the staple industries
3. Problems in the mining industry
4. Causes and failure of 1921 General Strike
5. 1926 General Strike
6. Effect of the Great Depression
7. Causes of…

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Problems affecting the staple industries 1918-39

Staples suffered as other countries took a bigger share in world manufacturing output.

1. Foreign competition
o Germany particularly with its improvement in technology of chemicals and
steel with manufactures protected by tariffs
o Growth of economy in USA after civil war mechanization allowed…

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o In 1921 gov did not want to continue subsidising the mines when exports were falling
o Mines were given back to their owners
o Market forces came into play, declining coal sales meant falling profits so the mine
owners wanted to cut wages
o Miners protested and threatened a…

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Timeline of the strike

Chronology of events - the basics

Tuesday 4 May 1926: A general strike is called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to
support the miners in their quarrel with the mine owners, who want to reduce their wages by
13 per cent and increase their shifts…

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Gov presented strike as a challenge to the constitution, TUC presented as subverting
normal political life
TUC lacked support from the Liberals and Labour
Due to the Zinoviev letter middle classes were determined not to give into the
demands of the workers

Consequences of 1926 strike

The miners were defeated…

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Ministry of health said the health of people in areas of unemployment was not any
worse than other areas
Gov did not abandon the unemployed or force them into workhouses
1934 unemployment act reorganised payment, but the new scales were delayed
There was training centres for retraining opened by gov,…

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o Import duties act 1932
o 10% duty on all good expect raw material and food
o 30% duty on steel
o Creation of sterling area which agreed exchange rates with certain

o More trade with empire
o Not all industries were protected, badly affected by foreign competition

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Social policies 1931-9

1. Education & the young
o Act raised the education leaving age to 15 in September 1939
o Class sizes fell though there were still 2000 classes with over 50 children
o More higher entrants from state elementary schools
o Young offenders housed in approved schools


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