WHAT EXPLAINS BRITISH COMPARATIVE ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR?

Published June 18, 2020, 3:45 p.m. by Moderator

 


At the end of the Second World War in 1944, Britain’s economy was in shambles. Britain had borrowed heavily from its neighbours to finance its war efforts.  Britain was unable to manage its debts from the United States and Canada. 1947 was particularly hard for Britons with food & fuel shortages, gas rations, and massive unemployment. Over 2 million Britons were unemployed. Having defeated the Conservative Party in 1945, the Labour Party instituted economic reforms that included nationalisation of the Bank of England. The government also nationalized the railways, coal, steel and iron industries. In 1946, the National Insurance Act became law. It provided free healthcare to all Britons (Countries Quest 2019).


In 1948 Britain benefited from the Marshall Plan; an economic recovery program that would provide low interest loans to European countries. France and Germany economies were more devastated compared to Britain. Thus, Britain was able to quickly establish its export businesses (Countries Quest 2019).


As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and the European Union, Britain benefited from the rebuilding of Germany. Britain was able to export goods and services throughout 27 European member states. Britain had over 10 billion pounds trade surplus with the European Union. The United Kingdom exits’ from the European Union will definitely have economic consequences for Britain’s economy. There will be many losers and gainers.


 


References


 


Countries Quest. (2019) Post-war Britain, World War II and Its Aftermath, History, United Kingdom, Europe - British socialists, National Insurance Act, capitalist countries, debtor nation, Communist nations. Available from: <http://www.countriesquest.com/europe/united_kingdom/history/world_war_ii_and_its_aftermath/postwar_britain.htm>. [March 20, 2019].


 


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