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Old November 12th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #1
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Living in UK during Cold war


Good time of the day!
I am russian and I do my own, for myself, research : I want to compare living standarts in UK and USSR from 1960 and until 1985.
While I and my older relatives remember prices, salaries and expences in USSR and there is a lot of data on the web - I did not find to much data about salaries in UK, prices and costs of living.
What I found is this :

Click the image to open in full size.

and this:

Where can I find the average UK salary firm 1930 to now for every year? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

Are salaries provided here ( http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/in ... 014AA4sFWm) after tax , pension and health insurance deductions or before?

What were tax rates in UK during this time?
What was the price of other foods, in particular I am interested in prices of meat and fish?
Were fresh fruits in vegies available all year around?
What were prices of electricity?
How much average british family spent on heating?
What was price of water?

What were monthly expenditure of avergage UK family in 1960 and on?
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Old November 12th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #2

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Good luck with your research.
I would expect most of your questions could be answered anecdotally, there's plenty of Brits on this forum who are over 30 years old.
However, try typing 'British GDP' and 'British RPI' in Google, you should be able to start your search there.

Anecdotally, I can tell you the price of a pint of beer in 1979 was 50p, and water was paid for by Water rates; a local council bill based on the size of the dwelling.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #3
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Thank you.

I would expect most of your questions could be answered anecdotally, there's plenty of Brits on this forum who are over 30 years old.

I am more interested in 1960.

However, try typing 'British GDP' and 'British RPI' in Google, you should be able to start your search there.

It does not tell too much, about how people lived in UK during this time.

and water was paid for by Water rates; a local council bill based on the size of the dwelling.

Could you tell me a numbers?

How old british people, who was born in 1940s, percieve 60s? As good times of prosperity or as harsh times?
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Old November 12th, 2012, 11:27 AM   #4

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These are good sources for background info.
BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | 1960s
BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - Life at home in the 1960s - History Video
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Old November 12th, 2012, 12:06 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddd_new View Post
Thank you.

I would expect most of your questions could be answered anecdotally, there's plenty of Brits on this forum who are over 30 years old.

I am more interested in 1960.

However, try typing 'British GDP' and 'British RPI' in Google, you should be able to start your search there.

It does not tell too much, about how people lived in UK during this time.

and water was paid for by Water rates; a local council bill based on the size of the dwelling.

Could you tell me a numbers?

How old british people, who was born in 1940s, percieve 60s? As good times of prosperity or as harsh times?
The 60s were a golden age in the UK, especially if you were a teenager like me.

BBC ON THIS DAY | 20 | 1957: Britons 'have never had it so good'

1957: Britons 'have never had it so good'

Summer bank holidays could get a bit out of hand though.

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Old November 12th, 2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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After the 'fifties Hell would have been Heaven, but, yes, the 'sixties were okay - left politics got interesting, the music was at least a bit better, and there was the Pill. A lot depended on your age, probably. There was a lot of fuss about wet little dog-ends passed round at parties, but the NHS had, at least at first, a sensible policy towards heavy drugs and such. It was a more sensible time than later, by and large.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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I was 18 years old in Scotland in 1960 and Britain was in the middle of an economic boom in 1960. ''Senior Service '' cigarettes , which I smoked back then (I loathe smoking now) cost two shillings for ten out of a street cigarette machine(two shillings =10 pence in modern money-today those self same cigarettes would cost around three pounds (3) for ten.
On Hogmanay 1960 (New Year's Eve in Scotland /December 31st 1960 I bought a half bottle of ''Long John ''whisky for 1-10 shillings =110 pence today .That self same whisky would now cost me around 5 now.
In early 1961 I bought Winston Churchill's history of ''The American Civil War'' published in hardback by Cassells for ten shillings=50 pence modern.
Today that book would cost around 20 pounds.
But wage rates were much lower: I was a third year trade apprentice in 1960 and for a 46 hour week I was paid around 7 per week net of income tax and National insurance. (About 15 pence per hour)
But unemployment was very low.In fact, due to labour shortages in 1960 I knew guys who left a job on Tuesday and walked into another job the next day-that would be impossible today in Britain given the much higher unemployment rates of today.
Taxation was much higher in 1960 with basic income tax set around six shillngs and eightpence in the -today it is around four shillings and sixpence in the equivalent.
Living standards were risings as people made extensive use of credit to buy tvs washing machines and automobiles so stimulating the economy.
Trade unions were more powerful and strikes were regular in industries like mining; transport and the automobile industry in 1960-where the Communists and left wing Labour were very strong among the workforce-unlike today's tame workforce.
The British Prime Minister in 1960, the Conservative, Harold McMillan was ''A One Nation Tory'' who had attacked his own Prime Minister and Conservative party in the 1930's as being ''disused slag heaps'' for failing to tackle mass unemployment .
McMillan was committed to economic expansion policies which tried to bring full enmployement to the British masses while pursuing policies that ensured te masses had the money to buy the new consumer goods in the shops.
So 1960 was time of prosperity and optimism and largely loads of job opportunites to those who wanted them.
But 1960 also marked the start of an economic process that saw one million unskilled jobs disappear from the British economy between 1960-70 due to rapid technological innovations.
Socially by modern standards 1960 Britain was racist and sexist (women were legally paid a fraction of men's wages/salaries) ''No coloureds'' signs were legal in job and housing advertisements and the majority of working class kids in 1960 still left school at age 15 to get a job -many of them intellectually bright but unable to go to university. Although that would change to some extent in 1963 with the Robbins Report which recommended that positive steps be tasken to make it easier for working class people to go to university therough a system of grants which were absurdly generous by modern standards because they were not loans that had to be repaid like today's British students have to sign up for.
I was one of those who benefitted from Robbins as I became in 1964, the first member of my working class family to go to university and graduate and unlike today I didn't have to repay a red cent for the taxpayer funded grants I received to support me for 4 years at uni and one year at teacher training college.
So education financing in the 1960's was much, much, more generous than it is today,.
House purchase was still only for the mainly middle class minority in 1960. Most people tried to get a rented council house rather than a mortgage so in 1960 home owning was a dream rather than an aspiration for most ordinary Brits-renting-not owning- was the name of the game.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:32 PM   #8

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"THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR taken from Volume IV of Churchill's acclaimed A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH- SPEAKING PEOPLES"

I have the abridged version that omits the American civil war, didn't know you could get it separately.

In 1962 I was a first year apprentice carpenter on 3 10s (3.50p) a week, by the end of the 60s I was on 70 a week and had bought our first house, 4,500, mortgage 28 per month. That house would go for about 275/300,000 today.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:58 PM   #9

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Quote:
How much average british family spent on heating?
Most houses in the 60s were heated by open coal fires but gas fired central heating was becoming popular, the gas being made from coal. In the mid 70s everyone was converted to North Sea gas for free, a much cleaner burning gas.
I doubt that heating was as expensive in comparison to wages as it is today.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 03:59 AM   #10
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I started work as an agricultural labourer in 1968, taking home just over 10 pounds a week, after tax. We were certainly not rich, but we never went hungry! My father had just died, aged 61, after 48 years of agricultural labour, and 53 years of smoking 50 woodbine a day.

The 60's were the best time ever to live in the UK - we 'young ones' still believed that the world could be made into a better place, if the politicians had not nuked it out of existance before we could get a chance to fix it. Everything was changing for the better - more freedom, more money, more hope.

I am now a computer consultant, earning more money in a week than I earned in my first year as a labourer. Had I been born a generation earlier, the opportunity to make that change would hardly have arisen.
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