“was first of all concerned to control the Public Assistance committees, which had been set up by local authorities to replace the Poor Law, since some of them were considered to be generous in the assessments they made in their provision of government money to those claiming ‘transitional’ benefit. Secondly, he wished to distinguish between the short-term and long-term unemployed. In these endeavours he was supported by the Royal Commission on Unemployment Insurance, chaired by Holman Gregory, which, in 1932, reported on the need for a reorganization and rationalization of unemployment relief. The Unemployment Act of 1934 reflected these concerns.” (Laybourn, 1990, p.26)
In conclusion, it is fair to sum up the various National governments’ approach to the unemployment problem as ‘incoherent’. At no point during the decade long regime by National governments was Britain able to contain the problem. On the monetary policy front, the going back and forth on the gold standard did not create new jobs in the economy. The efficiency drive that led to restructuring and relocating staple industries away from small towns created livelihood issues for the local population. Although a robust culture of consumerism kept the economy afloat during much of the 1930s, it had no impact on alleviating unemployment numbers. One constructive measure taken by the National government during this decade was tax incentives to boost the real estate industry. But given Britain’s traditionally strong links to the American economy, the Great Depression experienced by the latter dealt a shock to the former’s economy. The National government could not successfully insulate Britain from global factors, thereby failing to curb unemployment. Moreover, the domination of Conservatives meant that the policies of National Governments were fiscally orthodox. The National Government’s attitude toward trade unions and public demonstrations made its antipathy to unemployment quite clear. The government’s contemptuous treatment of Communist Party and its sympathizers is another low point. The ‘dole’ that it offered to bolster insurance funds was insufficient to the requirements of nearly 3 million unemployed (in 1934). The protectionist measures and application of deflation, again, did not have a significant impact on unemployment. Hence, it is a fair assessment that though the National Governments introduced several piecemeal initiatives to tackle unemployment, there is no cohesion and synergy between these initiatives – some of them were conflicting or counterproductive to reducing unemployment.
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