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The bank, coal, aviation and telecommunications

Bank of England

The nationalisation of the Bank of England was carried out under the leadership of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hugh Dalton. Bank stock was replaced by government stock paying interest at three per cent. Nationalisation of the bank was a deliberate policy, aimed at avoiding inter-war deflation and promoting the 'cheap money' policies associated with Keynes.


A Coal Mines Nationalisation Bill went before parliament in January 1946. The bill provided for a new executive, the National Coal Board, to control the industry subject to ministerial control. The industry was divided into eight regions to mediate between the Board and the individual colliery areas. Shareholders were to be fully compensated in Treasury stock at a cost of £164,000,000. The industry passed into public hands in January 1947.

Civil Aviation

The Conservatives had nationalised Imperial Airways and British Airways under the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) in 1939. Under the Coalition Government, Lord Swinton suggested the fusion of competing companies to make two new companies for the European and South American routes. Labour's 1946 Civil Aviation Bill provided for a reformed BOAC, a British European Airways Corporation and a South American Airways Corporation. The new system was criticised by the Civil Aviation Committee for lack of coordination.

Cable and Wireless

The nationalisation of Cable and Wireless Ltd was uncontroversial. A meeting of the Commonwealth Communications Council in 1944 decided there should be integrated telecommunications between the Commonwealth countries. Nationalisation was broadly supported due to the Commonwealth interest and Cable and Wireless passed into public hands in January 1947.