1974 Harold Wilson's Labour election manifesto: 'public ownership of development land'

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Sep 8 12:41:23 BST 2016

The Government have published plans for the public ownership of 
development land which will get rid of the major inflationary element 
in the cost of building;

for public control and participation in North Sea oil;

for greater accountability and the extension of public ownership in industry;

for beginning the redistribution of wealth by new taxation on the better-off



The Labour Party Manifesto: October, 1974

Labour 1974 Oct



The Rt. Hon. Harold Wilson, OBE, FRS, MP

In February we put before the British people our Manifesto, 'Labour's 
Way out of the Crisis'.

It was a programme for getting Britain back to work, for overcoming 
what was universally acknowledged to be the gravest economic crisis 
Britain had faced since the war. A programme to be carried out by a 
Government of all the people working together.

Labour formed the Government, got Britain back to work and showed our 
determination to fulfil the programme which we had put before the 
people. No post war British Government has achieved more in six months.

But at every turn we have found ourselves faced in Parliament by a 
majority which could, and did, coalesce to frustrate the policies we 
had put before the nation. What is still more serious has been the 
widespread expectation of an inevitable and early General Election, 
which created uncertainty in industry and the other institutions of 
our British society.

Soon the people must decide on the Government to whom they want to 
entrust the future of themselves and their families for the next five years.

They will judge each Party on its record in office, when it had the 
responsibility: on its record in honouring the pledges it had made to 
the country. On its willingness to undertake measures which would 
enlist the support and enthusiasm of our people in fighting the 
economic crisis.

They will judge on the policies which each Party puts forward, asking 
themselves which Party can best be trusted to make a reality of those policies.

They will judge not only on policies and records, but on the calibre 
and experience of the men and women who will be responsible for 
carrying out those policies. On their compassion and the 
understanding of the problems of ordinary families: on their 
determination to govern for, and with the sanction of, all of the people.

In February the country rejected, as we had urged, policies of 
confrontation and conflict and 'fight to a finish' philosophies. We 
put before the country the policy of the Social Contract.

We have shown that as a Government we are prepared to take the 
decisions that are needed to achieve economic and social justice 
without which this country can never unite.

The policies we have followed over the past six months, the policies 
which the next Labour Government will follow, are policies to 
strengthen the Social Contract.

It is not simply, or narrowly, an understanding about wages. It is 
about justice, equality, about concern for and protection of the 
lower paid, the needy, the pensioner and the handicapped in our society.

It is about fairness between one man and another, and between men and 
women. It is about economic justice between individuals and between 
regions. It is about co-operation and conciliation, not conflict and 

But more than that. What we as democratic socialists maintain is that 
when the going is toughest it is more than ever necessary to base our 
policies on social justice, to protect the weak, the poor, the 
disabled, to help those least able to help themselves, and to 
maintain and improve their living standards.

Other Parties which do not believe in fair shares deny themselves the 
right to call for equal sacrifices.

Injustice is the enemy of national unity.

The crisis we are facing demands a still greater emphasis on social 
justice, as well as economic justice, than at any time in this generation.

That is the inspiration underlying the policies set out in this Manifesto.

It carries forward the programme we set out in February. It builds on 
our achievements in fulfilling, in six months, so much of that 
programme. It sets out in much more detail the policies we then 
announced, proposals which have now been firmly rooted in our 
experience in government, and responsibly costed against the 
resources which as a nation we can afford.

This Manifesto, which is inspired by the idealism which has created 
our Movement, is now put before the country on the basis of the 
realism deriving from experience. It sets out what in our view is the 
only way to enable Britain to win through the crisis we now all face, 
and to share together, as one people, the fruits of the success we 
are determined to achieve.

Harold Wilson
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