How successful were the Conservative governments 1951-1964?


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 Conservative 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 alllowances, 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 £259m/ next 3 years no balance of payments problem/ success more to external factors (as Butler accepts in this 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 and process of 'setting people free' was widely applied/ food rationing was abolished and most war time controls over the economy were removed in 1953-54/ Road Haulage, iron and steel industry were returned to private ownership. 

Butler applied brake of monetary restraint, early 1955 bank rate raised from 3-4 and a half/ undermined by cutting the income tax by sixpence in the £ in his pre-election budget a few months later, thus increasing the upward trend of prices. 

Electoral manifesto 1951 pledged to build 300,000 houses a year, 327,000 1953 and 354,000 1954

Critics regretted 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 govts programme-social trrend bound to benefit the Conservative party electorally as MacMillan realised.

Expenditure on social services rose from 39.2% of total expenditure in 1951 to 43% in 1955.

Eden Government 1955-57

Robert Blake 'Eden lacked prime ministerial temperament' Anthony Nutting commented 'no control over his ministers'.

Nationalisation of the Suez Canal on 26th July 1956 as a means of raising the necessary finance/ foreign ships would have to pay to pass through what was now an Egyptian waterway/ Eden declared Nasser not allowed to 'leave his thumb on Britain's widepipe' a reference to the threat to the essential oil supplies that came to Britain from the Middle East through the canal/ French long resentful of Egypt's support of Arab Nationalists in French Algeria willing to join the British/ Eden believed the USA would favour such a policy and would at least give the Anglo-French attempts backing/ the Americans did not join Britain anf France in seeking to apply pressure to Egypt by the creation of a Cabal Users' Association/ Nasser refused to budge so GB&F referred the issue to the UN security council, fruitless as Soviet Union used veto to block proposals in the council to have Egypt condemned internationally, this confirmed to Eden only force could move Nasser, begna secret discussions with France and Israel/ strategy finalised mid-Oct 1956, Israelis would attack Egypt across Sinai, GB and France allowing sufficient time for the Israelis to reach…


No comments have yet been made