Learning from the Past
Some extracts from the 1935 manifesto, the last time Labour faced a Tory-Liberal coalition.
At the end of four years the country faces the grim spectacle of two million workless with an army of well over a million and a half people on the Poor law, and with the deepening tragedy of the distressed areas.
- The Government has robbed the unemployed of benefit and subjected them to a harsh and cruel household means test.
- It withdrew, under a storm of public indignation, its new Unemployment Regulations, and after nine months of reconsideration of this burning question it has ignominiously failed to produce any policy for the proper care of the unemployed.
- It has retarded the building of houses to let, curtailed schemes on food and other necessaries of life and by deliberately organising restriction of supplies.
Labour in power will attack the problem of the distressed areas by special steps designed to deal with the root causes of their troubles, as part of a vigorous policy of national planning. Labour will sweep away the humiliating means test imposed by the ‘National’ Government and will provide adequately for the unemployed, but will seek above all to reabsorb idle workers into productive employment by far-reaching schemes of national development.