Macmillan’s Never had it so
good speech
Harold Macmillan, speech at
Bradford, 20 July 1957
• .. These increased earnings come from the increasing
production of most of our main industries-steel, coal,
motor cars; a large part of the increase in output is going
to exports or to investment. That is all to the good.
Indeed, let us be frank about it: most of our people have
never had it so good. Go around the country, go to the
industrial towns, go to the farms, and you will see a state
of prosperity such as we have never had in my lifetimenor indeed ever in the history of this country.
• What is beginning to worry some of us is, is it too good
to be true?-or perhaps I should say, is it too good to last?
... Our constant concern today is, can prices be steadied
while at the same time we maintain full employment in
an expanding economy? Can we control inflation? This
is the problem of our time.....
• Our first duty at a time when there is more
money about than goods to spend it on is
to keep down Government expenditure.
We have already done a lot. In terms of
1951 prices this year’s Budget is nearly
£400m down and we have achieved this in
spite of increases in education, pensions
and health. We have reduced the Civil
Service by over 50,000 and we have now
embarked upon a new plan to secure
greater efficiency and economy in local
expenditure....
• Monetary policy, restriction of credit,
acceleration or retardation in the investment
programmes over which the Government has
control-these are the measures which we have
to intensify or relax according to the state of the
economic barometer. All these steps are good
and all of them are necessary, but in the long
run there is only one answer to the $64,000
question-to increase production. That is the
answer, that is where the real hope lies...
• Government action is needed and being taken,
but by itself it cannot solve the problem. This is a
combined operation; we are all in it.....
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