In my opinion I don’t think that austerity was the main reason for labours loss in 1951. The Oxford English Dictionary definition of austerity is “difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure”. In economics, austerity refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending by reducing the amount of benefits and public services it provides. In the years 1945-1951 the Labour government used policies such as the “fair shares for all” policy of food rationing to help the economic recovery of Britain after World War II.
In 1945 some of the middle classes had voted labour for the first time but it could be argued that many of these people went back to voting conservative in 1951 because they were fed up of the austerity and rationing that Cripps brought into Britain. Stafford Cripps continued with the wartime “far shares for all” policy of food rationing, although this originally may have been appealing to some it caused resentment among the middle class women in particular who thought the continuing and increasing rationing, the increasingly lengthening queues for food which was less than satisfactory, for example foods such as “snoek” was unfair and needed to be changed. Cripps was also resented among the conservatives when he tightened welfare expenditure; he devalued the sterling which the conservatives depicted as humiliating.
Sir Stafford Cripps was made Chancellor of the Exchequer at almost the same time as the Americans decided to launch the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was a massive programme of financial aid to Europe to try and help economic recovery and stop the threat of communism spreading. Britain was generously treated to over 12,500$ million in total between the years of 1948-1951. If Britain was receiving this amount of money from the USA why were the supposed levels of austerity and rationing needed that made the public not vote for labour?
I do not believe that austerity was the main...