How Successful Was the National Government 1931-1939 in Dealing with Social-Economic Problems They Faced?

Topics: Great Depression, Unemployment, Stanley Baldwin Pages: 3 (882 words) Published: May 16, 2013
How successful was the National Government 1931-1939 in dealing with social-economic problems they faced?

National Government is a concept referring to the coalition of the major political parties which were under Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain they held office from 1931 until 1940.

The Wall Street Crash was the start of Great Depression and Britain was badly hit. The Government tried to achieve several different, contradictory objectives which where ones such as, trying to maintain Britain's economic position by maintaining the pound on the gold standard, balancing the budget, and providing assistance and relief to tackle unemployment.

In 1931 the situation worsened and there was fear that the budget was unbalanced, which was allowed by the independent May Report which triggered a confidence crisis. The Labour Government agreed to make changes in taxation and expenditure in order to balance the budget and restore confidence, but the Cabinet could not agree on the two options available which was either introduce tariffs, or make 20% cuts in unemployment benefit. A final vote was taken on the issue and the Cabinet was split 11:9 with a minority including many political heavyweights such as George Lansbury threatening to resign rather than agree. Due to this unworkable split, on 24 August 1931 the government resigned. Both the Conservative and Liberal parties met with King George V and MacDonald, first to discuss support for the measures taken but again to discuss the shape of the next government. On 24 August MacDonald agreed to form a National Government composed of "men from all parties" with the specific aim of balancing the Budget and restoring confidence. The Government was then meant to resolve once these aims had been met and a general election was to be held.

The National Government had many problems during their time in office. One of the major problems they had was the impact of the depression was strong upon...
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