Jarrow’s problems were caused by the policies of the National Government

The problems the question is referring to include a catastrophic lack of jobs. This was caused by the decline of heavy industry, owing to general economic decline in post war Europe and the fact that particularly after 1925 British exports were extremely expensive. The people made unemployed were forced to go on the doll, which then consequently ruined there chances of finding another job. This meant that contracts for ships etc. went to foreign competitors, and in towns like Jarrow work ran out as contracts became fewer and further between. No-one invested in trying to start up new companies to replace small but important companies such as Palmers Yard which was closed by rationalisation.

The decline of old industries and unemployment started just after the war and this is backed up by the evidence in source A when it claims that “there was no prospect of a job” concerning the period of time from 1922 onwards. This was because after the war it was easier to import cheaper goods from overseas without fear of attack. Since it was cheaper to do this, many companies chose to. This made the situation worse and started a vicious cycle. The previously mentioned problems were not the fault of the National Government because it was set up in 1931, and these are long term issues resulting from mistakes made way before that time.

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Jarrow obviously depended on Palmers Yard, and in the 1920s, they started getting fewer and fewer contracts as said in the earlier paragraph. Although the unemployment problem was very serious before 1931, it became worse afterwards, and the National Government did nothing to help. Therefore, although this wasn’t the National Governments doing, they could have aided the situation and put an end to it a lot faster as stated in source F where it reports that “Protests were made, but nothing effective could be done unless the [National] government was prepared to act.”

The dole money issued was insufficient. It was too little for the people to live on and was a lot less than minimum wage. It was inadequate before 1931, but it was cut by the National Government and they introduced the means test, which meant that not only were people struggling to get by on the small amount they were given, but some people had to make do with no money at all and no way of making any. The people of Jarrow suffered so much because of this that they organised the Jarrow Crusade, in order to notify the government of the severity of their problem.

Source H says “At that time there was quite a number of marches being held…” showing that many people were afflicted. It also states that the original name for the particular march mentioned was the “Jarrow Hunger March” indicating the reason for the marching was the total lack of food. These were all the fault of the National Government, and the evidence in source D of a two bedroom house occupied by seven people, being “crowded and hot” with “ragged” clothes hung on string and the furniture being broken shows that the government were allowing families to live in poor conditions. This is supported by death rates peaking during the time of the hunger marches in source E.

There was no investment from the government, as they were hoping that Jarrow would be able to sort itself out over time (In 1936, the president of the board of trade told protesters to “go back to Jarrow and work out your own salvation”). They had passed a “Special Areas Act” in 1934 spending £2,000,000 to encourage investment, but although the government thought this was sufficient, it was nowhere near and did next to nothing in improving the situation, yet still, the National Government was intent it could do no more.

In 1934, rationalisation caused Palmers Yard to close down. This was an idea hatched by the National Government. They did not attempt to assist the people of Jarrow find new employment, although the unemployment rate had peaked beforehand 1934 reaching numbers of 7,178, but going down to 6,462 after the closing of the ship yard.

In conclusion, most of the points covered were not directly caused by the National Government or their policies, but rather than attempt to resolve them, they left them to get worse.

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