Austerity in Britain is the first book to explore the entire episode of rationing, austerity, and fair shares from 1939 until 1955. These policies were central to the British war effort and to post-war reconstrucion. The book analyses the connections between government policy, consumption, gender, and party politics during and after the Second World War. The economic background to austerity, the policy's administration, and changes in consumption standards are examined. Rationing resulted in at times extensive black markets and popular attitudes to the policy ranged from wartime acquiescence to post-war discontent. Austerity in Britain qualifies the myth of common sacrifice on the home front and highlights the limitations of the fair-shares policy which failed to achieve genuine equality between the classes or between men and women. The continuation of rationing and austerity policies after 1945 was central to party politics. Disaffecton, particulary among women, undermined Labour's popularity while the Conservatives' critique of austerity was instrumental in the party's victories at the general elections of 1951 and 1955.