The Turn of the Tide, 1950–1953
On 10 January 1950 Attlee announced the dissolution of Parliament. Churchill was on holiday in Madeira at the time, but he returned and was in command on 12 January. The Labour manifesto, Let us Win through Together, was published on 18 January. The Conservative manifesto was prepared by the Research Department, under Butler’s supervision, edited by Churchill, approved by the Shadow Cabinet, and published on 25 January, with the title This is the Road. It did not include any major changes. The chief electoral weapon available to the Conservatives, in their own estimation, was the promise of tax cuts. The main disadvantage, in policy terms, was that these concessions would be paid for by cuts in the social services — a point on which Labour understandably laid great emphasis. The Conservative way round this obstacle was to promise that the tax cuts could be financed by ‘substantial savings’ which ‘a complete change in the spirit of administration’ could produce. There was no suggestion in the manifesto of any retrenchment in the social services, or any mention of a means test. Moreover the Conservatives promised that there would be no reduction in food subsidies without compensatory payments to those most dependent on the subsidies, and that there would be no free drugs from the health service for private patients.
KeywordsLabour Party Compensatory Payment Minimum Figure Means Test Conservative Party
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