• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically examine government attempts to deal with the problem of unemployment in inter-war Britain.

Extracts from this document...


Critically examine government attempts to deal with the problem of unemployment in inter-war Britain The inter-war years were dominated by unemployment. This essay considers government responses to unemployment. It examines policies which were introduced intent on decreasing the number unemployed. It will also examine measures taken by foreign governments in dealing with unemployment. The National Insurance Act of 1911 only provided unemployment benefit to workers of selected trades. In 1916 however this act was extended to include munitions workers maybe in recognition of their work in the war effort. During the war unemployment remained stable somewhere around 4%, the average between 1881-1913. (Hill M) Returning to Britain after the First World War, soldiers found a very different Britain to the one in 1914. Unemployment was high, the cost of living was rising and there was a severe shortage of houses, hardly a land fit for heroes to live in. As more soldiers returned home and found it difficult or impossible to find work, the government needed to act quickly. ...read more.


In the 1922 Unemployment Act the government attempted to reduce the number of unemployed by introducing the 'genuinely seeking work test'. By the end of 1923, 1 in 20 of all claimants was failing this test. (Thane P p.164) A report published in 1932 by the National Unemployed Workers Movement titled, Mass Murder: an exposure of the means test, considered that the 'means test caused stark poverty, misery and starvation to enter thousands of working class homes. Working class parents are slowly but surely being driven insane by its use and many workers are driven to escape it by committing suicide.' Elias.S, p5 In 1924 the conservatives were in government with Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1925 Churchill returned Britain to the Gold Standard, the pound immediately became overvalued against foreign currencies. As a result of a weak pound foreign imports were relatively cheaper, but British exports became more expensive. Employers considered wage cuts would help in competing with overseas competition. ...read more.


Russia was to become a modern industrial country, eliminating the need for foreign imports. Employees worked longer hours creating a surplus available for export. Lenin allowed a restricted return of private trade in consumer goods. (Thane P) In Germany unemployment insurance was introduced in 1927. In 1933 when Hitler came to power he extended the public works. A huge road building programme commenced, house building was subsidized, school leavers were offered training, and employers were given incentives to take on the unemployed. (Thane P) In Sweden the Social Democrats came to power in 1932, with the promise of reducing unemployment. This was achieved by massive public spending on a programme of public works. In the United States Roosevelt promised a New Deal. This included massive public works and unemployment insurance. In examining unemployment during the inter-war years in Britain and abroad it would appear that public spending actually assists the unemployed. Although unemployment began to steadily decline during the late 1930's, it was solely owing to re-armament immediately before World War Two that the problem of unemployment receded. (www.bbc.co. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies essays

  1. Free essay

    How democratis is britain?

    Cameron, S. The cheating classes: How Britain's elite Abuse Their Powers. London: Viacom, 2002. Garnatt, M. Is The U.K a Liberal Democracy. Politics Review. November, 2005. Heywood, A. Political Theory. New York: Palgrave, 1999. Heywood, A. Politics. Hampshire: Palgrave, 2002. Hirst, P. Representative Democracy and its Limits. Online Journal.

  2. Book Review on "Darfur: a Short History of a Long War"

    the US forces gain the international community's approval when deciding to take a military action in Darfur. In other words, is this book a part of a US induced propaganda campaign? And are the writers "agents" recruited by the US to help start such campaign?

  1. What roles did fascism and anti-fascism play in American domestic policies in the 1930s

    On the other hand, in many respects it can be perceived that anti-fascism played a part in the NRA.

  2. Did the Attlee government 0f 1945-1951 have a coherent programme for changing Britain?

    However the debt after the war continued to escalate Attlee told the House of Commons "British earning form exports were currently no more than �350 million a year to which other receipts of foreign exchange might add a further �450 million.

  1. Assess the long term consequences of the New Deal

    race relations, it is certainly the case that black people had more access to government, especially through the First Lady, than they had enjoyed before. The New Deal was by no means an embryonic Civil Rights movement, but it might be possible to trace some of the issues involved to

  2. Explain the outbreak of, and the British response to, the Arab revolt of 1936 ...

    A General Strike was called for in April 1936 in protest at growing Jewish economic strength; Palestinian tradesmen and workers went on strike across Palestine. But violence began soon, on the 13th of April 1936, when two Jewish settlers were killed by Arabs on the Tulkarm Road.

  1. Why did Great Britain and France pursue a policy of non-intervention during the Spanish ...

    Germans or Italians so an attempt at multilateral non-intervention was the preferred policy. `It also has to be noted that in August 1936, Spain was not the chief priority of the British Government. The Foreign Office was in the process of trying to arrange a redrafting of the 1925 Locarno

  2. European Union: Council of Ministers.

    Turkey became a secular state in 1928, and a multiparty political system was established in 1950. Apart from a brief period of government by a military junta in 1960 and 1961, Turkey remained under civilian rule until 1980, when, in a period of political instability, inflation, and acts of terrorism, the military again took control.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work