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The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959$
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G. C. Peden

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207078.001.0001

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Recovery and Rearmament, 1931–1939

Recovery and Rearmament, 1931–1939

(p.247) Chapter Six Recovery and Rearmament, 1931–1939
The Treasury and British Public Policy, 1906–1959

G. C. Peden

Oxford University Press

The Treasury had to respond to severe challenges in the 1930s: first, an international depression of unprecedented severity, and then a world drift to the Second World War. There was innovation in monetary policy after Britain had been forced off the gold standard, and, in the special circumstances of rearmament, even in fiscal policy. The Treasury used monetary policy as its major policy instrument to achieve economic recovery. The pessimism that had marked much of the Treasury's thinking about unemployment for most of the decade was absent from Sir Frederick Phillips's memoranda in the spring of 1939, as defence expenditure promised to bring the economy to full employment. The fact that the Treasury found it hard to contain civil as well as military expenditure must have confirmed officials' worst fears about the propensity of politicians to spend when it was no longer necessary to balance the budget.

Keywords:   Treasury, monetary policy, Britain, fiscal policy, unemployment, defence expenditure, budget, Second World War, rearmament, economic recovery

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