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Just Taxes


  • 23 tables
  • Page extent: 424 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.62 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521039796)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 13 October 2015)


In 1914, taxation was about 10 per cent of GNP; by 1979, taxes had risen to almost half of the total national income, and contributed to the rise of Thatcher. Martin Daunton continues the story begun in Trusting Leviathan, offering an analysis of the politics of acceptance of huge tax rises after the First World War and asks why it did not provoke the same levels of discontent in Britain as it did on the continent. He further questions why acceptance gave way to hostility at the end of this period. Daunton views taxes as the central driving force for equity or efficiency. As such he provides a detailed discussion of their potential in providing revenue for the state, and their use in shaping the social structure and influencing economic growth. Just Taxes places taxation in its proper place, at the centre of modern British history.

• Helps explain the emergence of Margaret Thatcher and the structure of the British state • Offers a comparative study of twentieth-century Britain in a European and Atlantic context • On the politics of taxation in the twentieth century


List of figures; List of tables; Preface; List of abbreviations; 1. The taxing state: an introduction; 2. 'The limits of our taxable capacity': war finance, 1914–1918; 3. 'This hideous war memorial': debt and taxation, 1918–1925; 4. 'Adjusting the particular turns of the different screws': reforming the income tax, 1920–1929; 5. 'The great conflict of modern politics': redistribution, depression and appeasement, 1929–1939; 6. 'The exigency of war': taxation and the Second World War, 1939–1945; 7. 'The mortal blows of taxation': Labour and reconstruction, 1945–1951; 8. 'A most injurious disincentive in our economic system': Conservatives and taxation, 1951–1964; 9. 'Modern and dynamic economic policy': Labour and taxation, 1951–1970; 10. Rethinking taxation policy: from an opportunity state to an enterprise society, 1964–1979; 11. 'Highly defensible ramparts': the politics of local taxation; 12. Conclusion; Appendix: chancellors of the Exchequer and prime ministers, 1908–1983; Bibliography; Index.


'Daunton's fine study … makes an important contribution to understanding the background to the political economy of Thatcherism.' Roger Middleton, The Times Higher Education Supplement

'Just Taxes is a book rich in detail and argument that requires careful reading: Daunton's lucid writing makes that possible.' Juliet Gardiner, History Today

'… an effective and sobering account … a very important and surprisingly accessible book, in which Daunton explains complex issues very well.' Andrew Thorpe, History

'Just Taxes: The Politics of Taxation in Britain, 1914–1979 is a pioneering, uncompromisingly high-minded survey that, in conjunction with its predecessor volume Trusting Leviathan: The Politics of Taxation in Britain, 1799–1914 goes a long way towards fulfilling Daunton's aim of at last placing taxation squarely at the centre of modern British history.' The Times Literary Supplement

'This is a book worth buying …' The Economic History Review

'… a great achievement in terms of scholarship and lively interpretation … should indeed inform contemporary debates on teh impact of national taxation.' Parliaments, Estates and Representation

'Daunton has drawn upon a wide range of archival and printed sources to produce a coherent and accessible account of a complex subject … Just taxes is as important for the study of British history in the twentieth century as trusting Leviathan is for the nineteenth.' The Historical Journal

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