Economic Recovery in Great Britain

April 28, 1938

Report Outline
American and British Recovery Policies
Course of British Recovery After 1931 Crisis
National Government's Recovery Measures
Adherence to Policy of Balanced Budget
Special Focus

American and British Recovery Policies

Promotion of Recovery and Reform in Great Britain

Advocacy by the Roosevelt administration of a new relief and recovery program which will further enlarge the federal deficit and possibly lift the public debt to a figure in excess of $40,000,000,000 has caused opponents of pump priming to point to Great Britain's achievement of a greater measure of recovery than the United States without seriously unbalancing the British budget or greatly increasing the national debt. The impression ha become widespread in this country, moreover, that the London government in combating the depression has followed a hands-off policy toward business. Accepting such assumptions, many critics of the Roosevelt administration have concluded that Britain's more favorable economic position today results from an absence of governmental interference with business as well as from the assurance given by a succession of balanced or nearly balanced budgets.

Even when the recovery drive in this country was in its early stages, attempts were made in some quarters to discredit New Deal policies by references to the British example. In a fireside chat, September 30, 1934, President Roosevelt took issue with those who “would have you believe that England has made progress out of her depression by a do-nothing policy, by letting nature take her course.” He said he did “not believe any intelligent observer can accuse England of undue orthodoxy in the present emergency.” More recently, Raymond Gram Swing, American newspaper correspondent formerly stationed in London, described as “grotesquely mistaken” the assumption that recovery was achieved in Great Britain “by adhering to the old-fashioned wisdom of letting things alone.” “The government,” he said, “has stepped in, gingerly it is true, but with utter disregard of the proprieties of laissez-faire.”

While the British government has not sponsored great public-works or other pump-priming programs of the kind undertaken in this country, it has initiated many measures, of both a general and special nature, to promote recovery. Nor has reform been neglected, for in numerous cases government aid to particular industries has been forthcoming only upon compliance with stipulated conditions designed to correct fundamental economic ills. Some of the steps aimed at recovery and reform have been far-reaching. D. Graham Hutton, assistant editor of the London Economist, has stated that “between the financial crisis of 1931 and the beginning of recovery early in 1933, the National Government effected at least four major economic revolutions in the British economy,” which “had they been attempted by an administration that was not a Conservative one … would have been execrated as ‘Bolshevistic.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
United Kingdom
Oct. 21, 2022  The United Kingdom's Future
Nov. 05, 2010  U.S.-British Relations
Jan. 30, 1998  U.S.-British Relations
Mar. 08, 1996  The British Monarchy
Sep. 15, 1995  Northern Ireland Cease-Fire
Nov. 17, 1978  New Prospects for Britain
Apr. 08, 1977  Britain: Debtor Nation
Sep. 26, 1975  Britain in Crisis
Jun. 10, 1970  British Election, 1970
Oct. 30, 1968  British Economy Since Devaluation
Sep. 27, 1967  Britain in the 1960s: Descent from Power
Sep. 10, 1964  British Election, 1964
Jun. 24, 1964  British Commonwealth in the Postwar World
Aug. 09, 1961  Socialized Medicine in Great Britain
Jul. 19, 1961  Britain, the United States and the Common Market
Sep. 16, 1959  British General Election
Mar. 13, 1957  American-British Relations
May 10, 1954  Political Trends in Britain
Sep. 13, 1951  British Social Services
May 24, 1950  Sterling Balances
Feb. 08, 1950  British Election, 1950
Jan. 12, 1949  British National Health Service
Mar. 28, 1946  Sterling Area and the British Loan
Jul. 14, 1945  British Export Trade
Jun. 22, 1945  British Election
Jan. 01, 1943  Food Rationing in Great Britain
Apr. 19, 1941  Convoys for Britain
Jan. 02, 1941  Financing Britain's War Requirements
Aug. 26, 1938  Anglo-American Relations
Apr. 28, 1938  Economic Recovery in Great Britain
May 12, 1937  Britain's Intra-Imperial Relations
Sep. 09, 1931  Unemployment Insurance in Great Britain
Aug. 09, 1930  The Protectionist Movement in Great Britain
Sep. 10, 1929  The British Task in Palestine
May 06, 1929  The British General Election of 1929
Jun. 12, 1926  The British Trade and Financial Situation
May 07, 1926  Background of the British Labor Crisis
Oct. 17, 1924  British Electoral System and Political Issues
Feb. 29, 1924  British and French Finances
Jan. 14, 1924  The British Labour Party
Economic Crises
Regional Political Affairs: Europe