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|Family Expenditure in Britain in 1904|
The 1904 Board of Trade survey, which collected information on income, food expenditure and rent, is the largest household expenditure survey of the pre-First World War period. It was based upon nearly 2,000 urban working class family budgets. The analysis of these expenditure records showed that average expenditure on food varied from about 57 percent of family income in the North of England, to nearly 65 per cent in Scotland.* In rural areas, the Board of Trade estimated that food expenditure accounted for about 73 percent of agricultural labourer's average earnings in 1902.** More than any other item, the cost of accommodation varied from region to region and, of course, this would affect income available for other categories of expenditure. According to the Board of Trade investigation, relative to London prices, the cost of accommodation varied significantly in the 73 towns surveyed in 1905. The variance in non-rent prices was, by comparison, fairly negligible, When rents and prices were combined, the cheapest prices were found in Lancashire and Cheshire and Midland towns, which were about 15 percent cheaper than London and about 8 percent cheaper than southern counties' towns.***
The published returns of the 1904 inquiry in Cd 2337 and Cd 3684 provide only income class averages and give no individual data. It had long been thought that the original returns for this inquiry were destroyed after the Second World War, but approximately 1,000 of the original returns for this inquiry are extant at The University of Wales at Bangor, having been donated by the Ministry of Labour in 1962.**** These original returns provide quantitative details of expenditure, income and family structure by region. They also generally include supporting qualitative notes compiled by the returnee, relating to income, employment and expenditure of the family, which has been annotated by the investigator in some cases. This information was never reported in the official returns. In conjunction with the published class averages, these returns are an immensely important source of information on household expenditure behaviour, family income and structure.
In this project, funded by The Nuffield Foundation, the quantitative and qualitative data of the remaining original returns will be translated into computer-useable form and will be used to provide a comparative statistical analysis of the Bangor sample, published summary statistics and the 1890 USCL data.
|Please contact Andrew Newell firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.|
*Cd 2337 (1905) B.P.P. Consumption and the Cost of Food in Workmen's Families in Urban Districts of the United Kingdom
**Cd 1761 (1903) B.P.P. Consumption of Food and Cost of Living of Working Classes in the United Kingdom and Certain Foreign Countries
***Cd 3864 (1908) B.P.P. Cost of Living of the Working Classes. Report of an Enquiry by the Board of Trade into Working-Class Rents, Housing and Retail Prices Together with Standard Rates of Wages Prevailing in Certain Occupations in Principal Industrial Towns in the United Kingdom
****These 1,000 returns are a sub-set of the original survey and also included a number that were received too late for the Board of Trade to analyse and those considered unreliable by the Board of Trade.