The Labour Government 1945 -51 - The Welfare StatePrint
In the 1930s unemployment had been very high and many people had suffered in poverty.
The Labour Party's answer to avoiding high unemployment was to nationalise certain industries.
Nationalisation was a long-held belief of the Labour Party, putting people before profit. The principle was that if industry was owned by the people it could be run for their benefit and profit would be shared and not simply pocketed by the individual (as in private industry).
The Labour government made a commitment to full employment and nationalised many key industries in an attempt to fulfil their promise.
Labour introduced 'boards', or public corporations, to run these industries.
These boards were given the necessary freedom to operate outside of government 'interference' and they were only indirectly answerable to Parliament.
|1946||Bank of England|
|1947||National Coal Board|
|1950||Iron and Steel|
|1968||British Leyland Motors|
Conditions in many work places improved, especially health and safety due to government management, for example the mining industry. Also, the National Coal Board offered sick pay and holiday pay.
Unemployment was very low in the post–war period.
Although unemployment was low, below 3%, the reason for this was that American loans flowed into Britain.
Many industries were badly run and cost the government - and therefore taxpayers - money. These industries were privatised as they were perceived to be 'failing industries' in the 1980s.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.