A look back at 1972, the last time such major tax cuts were made | Mini budget 2022

TThe Institute for Fiscal Studies has said Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement on Friday represents the biggest tax cut since Anthony Barber’s March 21, 1972, just over 50 years ago. Here’s a rundown of some of the prices you would have paid, and things you may have watched and listened to at the time.

Cost of living, style 1972

Barber’s budget has been called the “dash for growth,” but the prices of everyday items seem ridiculously cheap by today’s standards. A pint of milk cost 6 cents in March 1972, butter was around 13 cents, and a gallon of four-star gasoline—leaded, of course—would have cost you 35 cents, or about 8 cents a liter. If you had just bought a brand new Ford Cortina to fill up, the car would have cost you £963. The land registry suggests the average house price was £5,158. If you still couldn’t afford a car or house, you could always drown your sorrows with a pint of beer at 14 pence while smoking the pack of 20 cigarettes that cost you around 25 pence in the pub. However, just 13 months after decimalization, people can still be forgiven for getting confused about “new money” prices.

A Ford Cortina would have set you back £973 in 1972
A Ford Cortina would have set you back £973 in 1972. Photo: David Newell Smith/The Observer

Television, when it was still on

At a time when both BBC channels still had periods of “closure” spread throughout the day and Parliament was not televised, Brian Widlake on BBC One presented an afternoon budget special entitled Budget Special 1972: Confidence or Crisis? with collaborators including Brian Walden and Robin Day.

That meant that children’s programming was shifted to BBC Two where you could see Tony Hart on Vision On and there was a Jackanory story to enjoy. Later that evening on BBC One, Robert Hardy ran a documentary about the British Empire and Barry Norman was reviewing films in Film 72. Of course, to enjoy all that you had to pay for your television licence, which was £7. for a black and white set and £12 if you wanted to watch in colour.

The sounds of the 70s

The UK’s #1 single that week was Nilsson’s Without You, a song that was also #1 in Ireland, Australia and the US. Also in the top ten were American Pie by Don McLean and Hold Your Head Up by Argent. Lindisfarne topped the album charts with Fog on the Tyne, an album that spent over a year in the UK charts, including four weeks at the top.

David Bowie plays Starman on Top Of The Pops in 1972
David Bowie plays Starman on Top of the Pops in 1972. Photo: YouTube/GreatGuitarHeroes

American singer-songwriter Judee Sill was the guest musician on the Old Gray Whistle Test on Budget Day, while the Thursday edition of Top of the Pops is one you won’t have seen on BBC Four lately, as presented by Jimmy Savile. It included the Chiffons, Olivia Newton-John, Labi Siffre and Tom Jones.

Radio One’s DJ lineup on Budget Day was a veritable who’s who of broadcasts, including Tony Blackburn, Jimmy Young, Dave Lee Travis, Johnny Walker, Terry Wogan, Annie Nightingale and John Peel. John Timpson and Robert Robinson presented the Today program on Radio 4, while Radio 2 covered the budget in the afternoon.

Clough’s Glory Days with Derby County

In football, Derby County were on their way to winning their first English Division One title under the brilliant management of Brian Clough. Ahead of budget, they beat Leicester 3-0, while Liverpool, their title rivals, beat Newcastle 5-0. Leeds United were busy handing Tottenham 2-1 in the FA Cup on their way to finally winning it. In Scotland, Celtic were on their way to their seventh of nine consecutive titles, while Glasgow Rangers would eventually win the defunct European Cup-Winners Cup that year.

Brian Clough (left) and his assistant Peter Taylor show off the League Championship trophy to cheering Derby County fans in May 1972
Brian Clough (left) and his assistant Peter Taylor show off the League Championship trophy to cheering Derby County fans in May 1972. Photo: PA Photos/PA

In rugby union, Scotland had won the Calcutta Cup 23-9 against England at Murrayfield the weekend before the budget, in a Five Nations tournament that was cut short by political turmoil after Northern Ireland’s Bloody Sunday in January, which marked Ireland’s home games against Scotland and Wales were cancelled.

Elsewhere in the sport, Eddy Merckx won both the Giro D’Italia and the Tour de France, Jack Nicklaus was the top earner on the golf circuit, Alex Higgins was world snooker champion and Emerson Fittipaldi took the F1 crown.

Also in the news

NASA launched Pioneer 10 in March on its way to study Jupiter before becoming the first man-made object to leave the solar system, and Apollo 16 was set to go to the moon in early April. The Godfather premiered in New York before becoming the highest-grossing film of the year, ahead of The Poseidon Adventure.

NASA's Pioneer 10 spacecraft
NASA’s Pioneer 10 spacecraft. Photo: Associated Press

Closer to home, just days after the budget London would rule Northern Ireland directly, and the summer of 1972 was the last time you could legally leave school at 15. From September 1, the age was raised to 16 years.

The more things change…

Some things remain surprisingly constant. When Barber stood up to deliver his budget speech, the third Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee, was part of a six-part adventure that pitted him against The Sea Devils – monsters who returned to celebrate their own 50th anniversary in this Doctor of this year. year Who Easter Special starring the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.

And what happened to Anthony Barber?

Within months of his budget, the Chancellor was forced to let the pound float, leading to a sharp fall in its value and enormous inflationary pressures on the economy, which was not growing the way his tax-cutting measures should have stimulated. Following industrial unrest, Ted Heath called a general election in early 1974, and Barber lost his job as chancellor when Harold Wilson returned to office in a minority Labor government. Barber was not up for re-election when Wilson called the second general election in October in a bid to secure a majority, which he narrowly won. Barber went to work in the banking world, where at one point a certain John Major was under his tutelage.

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