Facts and Figures - Britain Transformed

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Living Standards 1918-39

  • Following the war, there were £1.2million in receipt of disability pensions
  • In a brief, post-war boom, 4.1million new houses were built
  • Between 1921 and 1940, unemplyment never fell below 1 million
  • Car ownership was 20% in the South, and 12% in the North
  • There were 730,000 electricity consumers in 1920, and 9million by 1938
    • in 1961 4% of homes were still not covered 
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Living Standards 1945-79

  • Real disposable income rose 30% in 1950s, 22% in 1960s, and 30% in 1970s
  • Home ownership rose from 22% in 1950, to 50% in 1977
  • Heating was only in 5% of homes in 1960, but 50% of homes in 1977
  • In 1959, there were only 286 supermarkets, but there were 3,500 in 1971
    • as car ownership increased, so did the number of out of town supermarkets
  • 1954 saw the lifting of wartime controls on credit
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Post-WWI Economics

  • Inflation increased to 25% in 1918, which worried the government
  • The 1922 Geddes Axe cut public spending from £206million to £182million 
    • contributed to growing unemployment
  • Taxes were increased from £18 to £24 per person to try and reduce inflation and repay war debts
  • Unemployment never fell beneath 10% in the inter-war period, peaking at 23% in 1932-33
  • When the pound was devalued:
    • British exports became 25% cheaper and much more competitive
    • interest rates wre cut from 6% to 2%
    • a further 15% of the unemployed found work in older, key industries
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Economics 1945-79

  • The British economy grew 2.3%, compared to 5.6% in Italy and Germany
  • 1973 Oil Crisis:
    • inflation peaked at 25% in 1976
    • unemployment between 1974-6 was just below 1.5million
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Class and Social Change 1918-39

  • 31% of the working class who took the medical in 1918 were deemed unfit for combat
  • By 1939, 60% of the middle class were home owners, compared to 20% of the working class
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NHS

  • In February 1948, 90% of the British Medical Association were agiainst working for the NHS, after negotiations with Bevan, 90% joined the NHS 
  • Number of NHS employees doubled from 500,000 in 1948 to over 1million in 1979
  • Despite costs being expected to fall, the NHS cost 4.1% of GNP in 1950, 4.8% in 1970, and 14% by 1990
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Women 1918-45

  • Number of female MPs in the interwar period peaked at 15 in 1931
  • At local council level, they only made up 5-6% of councillors
  • In 1940, Nancy Astor was the first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons
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Women 1945-79

  • By 1951, 25% of married women were working,  by 1961 it was 30%, and by 1971 50%
  • In the 1950s, women typically took 10 years of work following childbirth, by the 1970s it had decreased to 4 years
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Welfare Provision 1918-45

  • By 1939, unemployment had fallen from 3million in 1933 to 1.4million
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Welfare Provision 1945-79

  • Wilson's 1974-6 government added 25% to pensions in 1974 and made child allowance available for all children
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