NQ Scottish History

Domestic impact of war on industry and economy

The impact of the war on Scotland’s industry and economy was significant. The war had such a big impact because the resources it needed – cloth, munitions, paper, engineering, iron and steel – were the main industries of Scotland. But while a lot of money was made by some, not everyone benefited.

Agriculture and fishing had mixed fortunes as wartime restrictions and lack of labour affected production. Even those industries that did well did so at the expense of much needed changes in working practices to improve competitiveness. There was also significant industrial tension as workers fought to prevent the erosion of their pay and conditions.

Post-war Scotland suffered badly from the slump in the world economy. Industries like shipbuilding, mining and engineering were especially badly hit. Because these were the main industries in Scotland, the economy suffered possibly more than in the rest of the United Kingdom.

The 1920s also saw significant emigration from people seeking a better life elsewhere. Many of these people came from rural Scotland, where the ongoing land issue and land raids indicated continuing dissatisfaction.