'An era of false prosperity'. Assess the validity of this view with reference to the years of Conservative rule 1951-64.


The Conservatives won the general election in 1951, and remained in power for the next 13 years, winning the next two general elections in 1955 and 1959. The election was won with Churchill (1951-55) replaced by Anthony Eden (1955-57) who was later replaced by Harold MacMillan (1957-63). 

Churchill Government (1951-55)

General continuation of Labour's welfare reforms and economic policies (Keynesian policies though greater emphasis on the role of the market in achieving progress and prosperity)/ Steel industry denationalised.

Paul Addison 'Between 1949 and 1953 he [Churchill] led the Conservativeb party with great vigour and flair towards the middle ground of politics'. 

Butler- balance of payments deficit of £700m/ response of savage programme of cuts on imports, credit, travel allowances, food subsidies and meat ration/ bank rate raised 2 to 4% and excess profits levy was imposed/ by 1952 deficit had been wiped out and surplus of £259 million/ next 3 years no balance of payments problem/ success more to external factors (as Butler accepts in his Memoir), the end of the Korean War 1953 and marked fall in import prices. 

Income tax was cut in later budgets in 1952 and 53, bank rate reduced from 3-4 and a half/ undermined by cutting the income tax by six pence in the £ in his pre-election budget a few months later, thus increasing the upward trend of prices. 

Electora Manifesto 1951 pledged to build 300,000 houses a year, 327,00 in 1953 asnd 354,000 in 1954. 

Critics regarded the over-emphasis on domestic housing at the expense of long-term industrial building/better sections of W/C and M/C gained most of governments programme-social trend bound to benefit the Conservative party electorally as MacMillan realised. 

Expenditure on social services rose from 39.2% of total expenditure in 1951…


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