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The Changing Standards of Living During the 1950's.

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The Changing Standards of Living During the 1950's After the war in 1945 people's attention was focussed onto rebuilding Britain to improve problems that already existed and had worsened during this period. These were things like unemployment and poor housing. Britain trying to rebuild itself For Britain to begin to rebuild itself, large imports of food, iron ore, wool and cotton had to be brought in to help people survive. To pay for all the things needed, the amount of exportations taking place from Britain had to increase dramatically. The newly elected Labour Government had a big task on their hands of making sure that people didn't starve. So what they did was borrow millions of pounds to buy food and materials needed and the debts created were paid of by the amount of exports. Because of this all the best things in Britain were exported. This meant that there was still a shortage of things like clothes so rationing continued. Housing was another extremely serious issue in Britain. As the war ended there were millions of slums and the problem wasn't helped by the fact that many houses were still war damaged. ...read more.


The people may not have liked these policies but the standards of living did increase and the country brought in more money. By 1954 there was an increase in electrical goods being exported as well as cars, aircraft and chemicals. Because of the Korean War in 1950, the money that should have been spent on food, clothes and hospitals was spent on arms but three years later the war ended, prices fell and taxes were lowered. Now the items which had only been used for export, were readily available. Unfortunately unemployment also began to increase. This was because there wasn't enough goods to use up all of the extra money so higher wages and lower taxes meant that prices rose and goods weren't so easy to sell abroad. Taxes were then put up and it was made more difficult for people to borrow money. As fewer goods were sold there was less jobs. On the whole the nation was more prosperous. Between 1952 and 1963 the number of homes with a TV increased for 11% to 85%, washing machines from 10% to 52%, refrigerators from 6% to 37% and vacuum cleaners from 40% to 80%. ...read more.


Holidays were taken and the number of people going abroad for their holidays doubled. There was an increase in expensive sports like sailing and rowing. Cinema viewing decreased due to the amount of people with televisions but was replaced with Bingo clubs, which many people joined. Public Houses were popular with women also going to them. The amount of sales concerning spirits and other drinks soared. Football and cricket were becoming ever popular, and so was the gambling involved with them too. By looking at the 1950's you can see that people in post-war Britain who had nothing, seemed to have a whole new life by the mid to late 1950's. This had a lot to do with the way that the country was run and the Government controlling it. Considering that people were homeless and worried about their financial situation, I think it is a great change in standards seeing that most of them ended up with countless leisure activities they could participate in. Obviously not everyone could afford to do everything but even today you get the brake down of people into classes and the difference in the activities they can afford. Popular Culture in Britain in the late 1940's and 1950's Sophie Wright Changing Standards of Living 1960's ...read more.

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