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Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Labour also planned new and improved schools, improved pensions and benefits, and laid the foundations for the extension of voting rights to millions more. The speech dismayed many of Gaitskell's natural supporters but was applauded by many on the Left, causing his wife Dora to observe "all the wrong people are cheering". Gaitskell's position became more cautious during the summer, and he suggested the dispute with Egypt should be referred to the United Nations. In addition, Purchase Tax was increased from 33% to 66% on certain luxury items such as cars, television sets and domestic appliances, while entertainment tax was increased on cinema tickets.

All British Chancellors of the Exchequer have yielded themselves, some spontaneously, some unconsciously, some reluctantly to that compulsive intellectual atmosphere. Gaitskell was prepared to offer a delay in the introduction of charges but rejected the Tomlinson formula, despite Attlee's urgings, as the ceiling could not be achieved without charges. Following his defeat in the 1918 General Election, Philip Snowden remained as the Parliamentary Candidate although the Independent Labour Party were keen to secure a safer seat for him at the 1922 General Election. He was attacked for this by the US Secretary of the Treasury John Wesley Snyder and Camille Gutt (former Belgian finance minister and now managing director of the IMF). As Chancellor of the Exchequer he retained the same control over economic planning which Cripps had had.Gaitskell very likely might have become Prime Minister had he lived; however, he left no lasting monument other than "the fading memory of promise unfulfilled". This election defeat led to questions being asked as to whether Labour could ever win a general election again, but Gaitskell remained as leader. Crossman noted that this forced Bevan to be loyal to Gaitskell (15 December 1956), making the two men allies of a kind.

After breaking with Labour policy in 1931, Snowden was expelled from the party but continued to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ramsey MacDonald’s National Government coalition. Gaitskellism tended to downplay loyalty to the Labour movement as a central ethical goal, and argued that the new goals could be achieved if the government used appropriate fiscal and social policy measures within the context of a market-oriented mixed economy. In 1947 he once again played an important role steering electricity nationalisation through the House of Commons, winding up the debate on the second reading.His predecessor Stafford Cripps wrote to him praising him for not giving in to "political expediency", whilst he was supported in public by two younger MPs later to be staunch allies, Roy Jenkins and Anthony Crosland.

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