Do You Agree with the View That the Conservative Party’s Policies in the Years 1951-59 “Hindered the Country’s Economic Development”?

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The Conservative Party which was leaded by Winston Churchill (1951-55) and Anthony Eden (1955-57) and Harold Macmillan (1957-63) between the years 1951-59 wanted, according to their manifesto in 1951, to stop all further nationalisation. The Iron and Steel Act will be repealed and the Steel industry allowed resuming its achievements of the war and post-war years. To supervise prices and development we shall revive, if necessary with added powers, the former Iron and Steel Board representing the State, the management, labour, and consumers. They also wanted to free the people from austerity and housing shortages. Macmillan introduced the stop and go economy. If the domestic consumption and the prices rose too quickly (and the economy appeared to be “overheating”) the government put on the “brakes” by increasing taxes and raising interest rates. This would make it more difficult to borrow money. The other way around would be, when the production and the exports declined, and the economy appeared to be a “downturn”, the government pressed the “accelerator” button by cutting and lowering the interest rates. This would make it easier to borrow money. There was also the “Stop-Go” approach. This approach was to try and solve the main two problems of maintaining economic growth which were keeping inflation low and making sure there was a healthy balance of payments. But this policy was not coherent. The budgets were used to buy votes and it also caused mixed success. One result was “Stagflation” (Stagnation and Inflation). It was a failure to invest in the long term R & D (Research and Development). Britain also started to lag behind because of the heavy defence expenditure and the expensive nuclear arms development programme. Also 35 per cent of the Research and Development were spent on the defence. But this face the rise in living standards (50%) and material prosperity, the wages raised ahead the pries, there was a greater availability of a credit, house buying grew and there was “a property owning democracy”. The gap between the rich and the poor people was wider but the material life improved for both. The first motorways were built and the Clean Air Act (1956) was passed. The home ownership increased from 30 per cent to 50 per cent and also the personal savings increased from 200£ to 2000£. The Conservative Party hindered the country’s economic development but just limited. On one side it hindered the economic development (stop and go), on the other side it enabled the economic growth. Source 4 is a book called Mastering Modern British History from Norman Lowe which is published in 1984. This source is a secondary source. The Source sets up the thesis “Conservative Party hindered the country’s economic development. It criticises that the Conservative Party emphasised the improvement in world trade rather than improving the economic policies. This caused an economic failure. It accuses the Conservative Party for hindering the country’s economic development. The introduction of the stop and go approach caused this as well. The stop and go approach caused Stagflation. This is a situation where an inflation rate is high, the economic growth rate slows down, and unemployment remains steadily high. Considering the faults under the Conservative Party the government did not perceive their opportunities to improve the economic failures. The government had no coherent economic policy (they used stop and go). There was no structured financial strategy (the budget was used to buy votes). The investment in the Research and Development was minimal and the government did not improve the employer-worker relationship either, which caused Stagflation. Source 4 admits the improvement in world trade under the Conservative government, but it also says that this was not the merit of the Conservative government’s economic policies. The unemployment before Macmillan was 380.000 people and during Macmillan’s government rose and fluctuated between...
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