The Protectionist Movement in Great Britain

August 9, 1930

Report Outline
Economic and Political Situation in Great Britain
Commercial Policy of Great Britain
Commercial Policies of British Dominions
Trade of the British Empire
Special Focus

Economic and Political Situation in Great Britain

Rise of Unemployment; Fall of Commodity Prices

On The eve of the recent Canadian general election, which resulted in the overthrow of the Liberal government at Ottawa and the return of a Conservative majority to Parliament, Stanley Baldwin, leader of the Conservative party in Great Britain, predicted that the Lab our government of that country would be “out of office within six months.” The new American tariff had an important influence upon the outcome of the Canadian election, and it may play a part also in the forthcoming general election in Great Britain, where a similar movement toward general tariff protection of domestic industry appears to be making rapid headway.

The chief issues in the Canadian election were: (1) Unemployment, and the asserted incapacity of the existing government to deal effectively with that problem; (2) the tariff: whether Canada should be content with the mildly retaliatory duties levied by the Liberal government upon American goods, with accompanying increases in the British preference, or should espouse a policy of thoroughgoing protection as a means of stimulating home industry, providing additional employment, and lifting the economic depression.

Economic Situation in Great Britain

Great Britain has suffered from economic depression almost continuously since the close of the war, and unemployment, as in Canada, has shown a steady increase during recent months. The Lab our party, although pledged to “do something” about unemployment, has been unable to check the rise during its thirteen months in office. At the end of July some 2,000,000 out of 12,000,000 insured workers were without employment, and the government was laying out about $1,075,000 a day in unemployment relief. The business depression has been intensified, meanwhile, by the rapid fall of commodity prices.

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