The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act

Written by michael wolfe
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The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act
The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 nationalised the British coal industry. (winter coal image by Rick Smith from

In 1946, the United Kingdom passed a law that nationalised the country's coal industry. Whereas previously coal mining has been controlled by private investors, now the National Coal Board was granted responsibility for managing the industry.


The coal industry was nationalised in the wake of World War II. The act gave the government power to control production, pricing, and recruitment.


According to the Working Class Movement Library, the act represented a culmination of a years-long effort made by the workers seeking public control of the industry in the hopes of improving working conditions and salaries.


Although nationalisation improved wages and safety, some dissatisfaction among workers remained. Industry-wide strikes occurred in 1972, 1974 and 1984.


The coal mines of the United Kingdom were nationalised just as they were becoming depleted. By the 1980s, the industry was producing only a small percentage of the coal produced immediately after World War II.

Fun Fact

In the 1990s and 1990s, under the direction of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the coal industry was again privatised, with the National Coal Board, then called "British Coal", sold off entirely.

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