Archive for Three Day Week

A Return of the Three-day Week in Britain?

Posted in Covid-19, History, Politics with tags , , on September 25, 2021 by telescoper

Back in 2014, on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Three-Day Week in Britain, I wrote this:

I wonder how many of you are old enough to remember the “Three Day Week”? I am. In fact I remember sitting my 11+ examination right in the middle of the period (from January to March 1974) in which electricity supplies across the UK were restricted to three days per week. Although it meant reading books by candlelight, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound to younger readers because we didn’t have that many electrical gadgets in those days and at least our house was heated by coal, not electricity. I dread to think what would happen nowadays if we should experience  problems with fuel supplied similar to those caused by the Oil Crisis of 1974. But such an event is not altogether impossible…

In the Dark, 4th January 2014

Not impossible at all given recent news. It seems even the Daily Torygraph agrees. Moreover, a senior Conservative politician has described such talk as “alarmist and misguided“, which convinces me that it is indeed likely to happen. My social media feeds are filled with pictures of queues of cars caused by people panic-buying petrol. Makes a change from toilet roll I suppose…

There is a concern here in the civilized world that problems with supply chains caused by Brexit may impact Ireland. Though there is no sign of this yet, it is of course possible, but only if people here continue to disrespect UK sovereignty by insisting on buying British products. The message must get through that the UK simply does not want the trade surplus it has enjoyed with Ireland for many years so it would be impolite to let it persist. Fortunately the shops are now displaying a much wider range of European products so this should not be a problem. I find it easy to manage using predominantly local Irish suppliers, apart from wine and some speciality products which are mainly imported from EU countries.

P.S. There’s an article in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle about the original Three-Day Week, which brought back a lot of memories. I remember the newspapers had lists of which areas would lose electricity at what time : candles and paraffin lamps suddenly became fashionable; and of course we had quite a few days off school!

40 years since the beginning of the ‘three day week’

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , on January 4, 2014 by telescoper

Is it really 40 Years ago?
I wonder how many of you are old enough to remember the “Three Day Week”? I am. In fact I remember sitting my 11+ examination right in the middle of the period (from January to March 1974) in which electricity supplies across the UK were restricted to three days per week. Although it meant reading books by candlelight, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound to younger readers because we didn’t have that many electrical gadgets in those days and at least our house was heated by coal, not electricity. I dread to think what would happen nowadays if we should experience  problems with fuel supplied similar to those caused by the Oil Crisis of 1974. But such an event is not altogether impossible…

New Historical Express

sold out

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘three day week’, which lasted from 1 January to 6 March 1974. The ‘three day week’ was an initiative by the Heath Government to avoid the stand-still of Britain’s industry in response to the Oil Crisis of late 1973 and the threat of a strike by the National Union of Mineworkers (who were on a ‘work to rule’ basis at the time). It involved cutting electricity supplies to three consecutive days per week to conserve coal stocks, which was threatened by a strike by mineworkers.

A search of the digitised Cabinet Papers available through the National Archives show how the Heath Government approached the looming threat of a strike by the NUM and the energy crisis faced by Britain in 1973-74. One Cabinet meeting from 20 December, 1973 outlined the problem facing the Heath Government and the basis…

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