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'A Period of increasing affluence' '13 wasted years' Which of these statements provides the more convincing assessment of Britain under the Conservatives in the years 1951-64?

Immediately after the war, food was scarcer than ever, consequently rationing continued. The quota on some goods was reduced and other goods, such as bread and potatoes, that had not been restricted during the war, were rationed. An attempt was made to introduce new foods such as horsemeat, whale and Snoek fish, but these schemes were unsuccessful on the whole. Things changed at last as the economy strengthened and restrictions were lifted. This led to a period of prosperity in the 1950s. The controlling of prices came to an end in 1953 and rationing ceased completely in 1954. This was also a period of full employment, higher salaries and lower income tax. The age of plenty had dawned. Underpinning the affluence of the 1950s and 60s was the sustained full employment and the dramatic rise in worker's wages. The weekly was was £6.8s in 1950 and by 1959, it was £11.2s.6d. Due to this wage rise, consumer spending also rose by about 20%, whilst economic growth remained at about 3%. The lifting of food rations in 1954 and toning down of hirepurchase controls in the same year also contributed. The significance of these changes was that it allowed a large number of the working class to participate in the consumer market for the very first time. The improving economic conditions and the rapid rates of growth in the middle of the 1950s undoubtedly helped the party get re-elected in 1955 and 59. The health of the economy was claimed to be the work of Butler but it was actually the combination of international conditions after the war in Korea had ended. The economy was able to grow at a rate fast enough for Butler to reduce taxes and to increase spending on welfare and thus keeping the voters happy. Full employment was a feature during this period spreading the gains of the economy throughout all parts of society. Macmillan, Minister of housing 1951-54, was able to uphold his 300,000 houses a year pledge a year earlier than he had anticipated. This was accomplished mainly by reducing the size of council housing and making it a lot easier to purchase a home in the private sector. This scheme gained a lot of popularity for the government. They were also able to end rationing and many of the schemes implemented during the wartime period signalling that Britain was moving from a period of austerity to a period of affluence especially around 1957-59. between those years, it was considered as the most affluent mainly due to the vastly better conditions created at the beginning of the period enabling the party to deliver lower taxes and higher public spending without any serous consequences. As a result, there was a rise in living standards, high employment rates and very little inflation – something that the Conservative party knew were not simultaneously possible. This consumerism era had huge effects on life at home. Electrical appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and refrigerators were the most popular household items during the 50s and 60s. Even those who lived in relatively small homes were able to afford appliances for their homes through the hire-purchase scheme – something they were never able to afford beforehand. The amount of equipment in people's homes increased for people across classes. This combination of wealth, technological development and variety of consumer goods led to increased purchasing; and it is believed that the expenditure on household goods, for example, increased by 115% during the 1950s. This increase in buying led to the phenomenon of mass consumerism. Due to the increase in new technologies, a number of important scientific discoveries were made during this period including the atomic bomb, polio vaccination and the structure of DNA. There were also a number of smaller technological developments that influenced people’s lifestyles. Electrical gadgets and new household appliances were developed

'A Period of increasing affluence' '13 wasted years' Which of these statements provides the more convincing assessment of Britain under the Conservatives in the years 1951-64? and the arrival of electricity to a number of Welsh homes meant that these amenities were within the reach of ordinary people. it was a period of increasing affluence but it was not due to the action of the Conservatives. The 1950s in hindsight was a period where she missed numerous opportunities to grow and compared to the rest of Europe. . The Conservatives focussed on the consumers in the 'prosperous south' rather than turning part of their attentions to those in the Midlands and the north where people still suffered from the effects of the war. the electric radio and. Unemployment in these areas were still rife and strikes took place in many areas in protest of pay compared to the rest of Britain. The number of private cars in Britain rose from 2 million in 1948 to 3. Due to this. of course.5 million in 1955. If we were just to assess the period based on the actions of the Conservatives. you cannot ignore how society changed during this period – including the attitudes towards a welfare state from the conservatives. The Conservatives could have done more to further the British economy – which they did not. The early 1960s displayed the apparent economic decline in Britain and her poor educational performance meant that fewer students stayed on in higher education compared to abroad meaning that further industries could not appear. However. Homes also became more comfortable as people bought new mass-produced furniture and laid carpets instead of linoleum on floors. Society became more mobile as more people owned a car. there was a lack of long-term planning from all four Conservative Prime Ministers and the expectations for the affluence period to continue was just too great and there was a general feeling within the public of disillusionment. due to lower prices and an end to petrol rationing. more people chose to enjoy their leisure time in their own homes. and other developments such as the record player. More people were able to access goods and services that the were not able to access before and this is shown in the number of people who possessed these goods and the increase in standards of living – setting a template for modern Britain but it was all down to the international economy and not necessarily down to the Conservatives actually introducing any meaningful legislations to help the economy. the electric iron and the new cooker. Housework was made easier by the vacuum cleaner. this period under the conservatives could be easily regarded as '13 wasted years'. they were '13 wasted years'. Overall. These developments had an impact on many aspects of life. Britain's economic health was not up to par. television. the washing machine. However. So. Convenience foods became commonplace with the arrival of the fridge and freezer. there were a lot of things that the Conservatives could have done to improve Britain's position economically. It seemed that throughout this period. in hindsight. yes.