HOW FAR DID PITT’S POLICIES SUCCESSFULLY MEET BRITAIN’S ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REQUIREMENT BETWEEN 1783 AND 1793?
William Pitt the younger became prime minister of Britain in 1783. Britain was in a political crisis having just lost the American war of independence and was also in a huge debt of approximately £242million. Being in the midst of the political and economic turmoil, Pitt introduced several policies to be on top of things and in this essay I am going to assess the success of these policies in meeting Britain’s need between 1783-93.
The 1770’s witnessed a fall in the real value of Britain’s industrial and commercial production. At the same time the national debt rose by 91% to about £242million and the value of exports fell by 12%. Annual payment was only £18million, while the interest payments were £9million and normal annual expenditure was £20. To solve this economic crisis, Pitt’s three basic aims were to raise income through taxation, stimulate trade, and to cut unnecessary government expenditure.
Pitt increased the government revenue by introducing indirect taxes and ensuring the goods taxed were the ones consumed by the rich. Pitt introduced ingenious new taxes such as the window tax which was a form of direct tax paid by those best able to afford it, therefore it was reasonable. These increases in taxes balanced the losses in customs revenues. However it was slightly limited as owners of large properties bricked up their windows in response to this tax. Adding tax to goods consumed by the rich was also a way Pitt aimed to increase the income. This was a clever idea because if he taxed the poor he risked the danger of provoking a revolution which would have added to Britain’s troubles. Pitt basically introduced new taxes for the benefit of getting the government more revenue which would only have been efficient if the taxes only targeted the wealthier classes. The types of products he taxed were luxuries like hair powder, horses,...
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