Rationing in World War Two

Posted in: World War II
Written on 3rd January 2013 15:29pm

This week 73 years ago, saw the start of rationing of basic foodstuffs in the UK.

The Second World War started in September 1939. The first commodity to be controlled was petrol, which was shortly followed by food.


On 7 January 1940 a law was passed that meant basic foodstuffs were to be rationed; these included bacon, butter and sugar. Shortly after, meat, jam, eggs and many more were controlled by rationing too.


A black market was created, which was illegal. On many occasions, buyers were tricked into buying cheaper substitutes (for example, horsemeat in place of beef).


Most controlled items were rationed by weight. However, meat was rationed by price.


As the war progressed, other commodities were rationed- most notably clothing. Clothing was issued on a points system, which was introduced in 1 June 1941. The points allowance was approximately worth one new outfit point year.


Even after the war ended in May 1945 in Europe, rationing continued. It was not until nearly a decade later in 1954 when the rationing of meat ended, did all rationing finish.


You can experience your own piece of Second World War history, too.

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