- Anthony Barber, Baron Barber
name=The Rt. Hon. Anthony Barber
Chancellor of the Exchequer
term_start =25 July 1970
term_end =4 March 1974
birth_date = birth date|1920|7|4|df=y
death_date =death date and age|2005|12|16|1920|7|4|df=y
Anthony Perrinott Lysberg Barber, Baron Barber, PC (4 July 1920 – 16 December 2005), was a British Conservative politician who served as a member of both the House of Commons and the
House of Lords.
Barber was appointed
Chancellor of the Exchequerby Edward Heathin 1970 after the early death of Iain Macleod, serving in that capacity until 1974. He became Chairman of Standard Chartered Bankafter retiring from front-line politics in 1974, and served from 1974 to 1987.
Birth and early life
Barber was the third son of John Barber and his Danish wife, Musse. Barber's unusual forenames arose from his mother, who contributed the "Lysberg", and French grandmother, who contributed the "Perrinott". His father was secretary-director of a
Doncaster confectioneryworks. He had two brothers: Noel, who became a well-known journalist and novelist, and Kenneth, who became secretary of Midland Bank.
Barber was educated at King Edward VI's Grammar School in
Retford, Nottinghamshire. He became an articled clerk, but joined the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantryshortly before the Second World Warstarted. He was commissioned into the Territorial Army Royal Artilleryin 1939 and served in France with a unit from Doncaster as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He was evacuated from Dunkirkin 1940, but later he became a pilot in the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit of the RAF. He ran out of fuel on a reconnaissance mission on 25 January 1943 and ditched near Mont St Jean, but was captured by the Germans. He was mentioned in dispatchesfor helping escapes from the prison camp at Stalag Luft 3: he himself once escaped as far as Denmark. While still a prisoner, he took a law degree with first-class honours through the International Red Cross. On his return to England, he was awarded a state grant to Oxford University, where he took a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economicsin two years at Oriel College, and a scholarship to the Inner Temple. He then practised as a barristerfrom 1948, and specialised in taxation.
House of Commons
Anthony Barber stood in Doncaster at the 1950 general election but lost by 878 votes. He contested the seat again at the 1951 general election, however, and beat the incumbent Labour
Member of Parliament, Raymond Gunterby 384 votes. He held a series of offices: Parliamentary private secretaryto George Ward(Under Secretary for Air) from 1952 to 1958; junior Government whipfrom 1955 to 1958; and Parliamentary private secretary to Prime Minister Harold Macmillanfrom 1958 to 1959. He then served four years as a junior minister in the Treasury, Economic Secretary to the Treasuryfrom 1959 to 1962, and, following the "Night of the Long Knives" on 13 July 1962, as Financial Secretary to the Treasuryfrom 1962 to 1963 (under the Chancellorships of Derick Heathcoat Amory, Selwyn Lloydand Reginald Maudling). He became a Cabinetminister, as Minister of Health, in 1963, but lost his the seat in the Commons in the 1964 general election to Labour's Harold Walker.
His absence from Parliament was short-lived, as in 1965 he won the
by-electionin Altrincham and Sale caused by the elevation to the peerage of Frederick Erroll. In opposition, he led Ted Heath's campaign to become Conservative party leader in 1965, and became party chairman in 1970. The Conservatives won the general election in 1970, and Barber held his seat until the general election of October 1974, when he himself entered the House of Lords.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
After winning the election in 1970,
Edward Heathappointed Barber as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancasterand gave him the responsibility for negotiating the entry of the UK into the European Economic Community. However, following the sudden death of Iain Macleodon 20 July, only 6 weeks after the election, Barber became the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. In line with the, initial, liberal instincts of Heath's 1970 government, he oversaw a major liberalisation of the banking system under the title of 'Competition and Credit Control', leading to a high level of lending, much of it to speculative property concerns. In his first Budgetin March 1971, he proposed to replace purchase taxand selective employment tax with value added tax, and also relaxed exchange controls; both were prerequisites to membership of the EEC. VAT came into force in 1973 at a standard rate of 10%. A year later, the rate was cut to 8%.
Barber also reduced
direct taxes. High levels of economic growth followed, but the traditional capacity constraints of the British economy - especially currencyand balance of tradeconcerns - quickly choked the economic boom. The banking system fell towards crisis as the bubble burst.
During his term the economy suffered due to
stagflationand industrial unrest. In 1972 he delivered a budget which was designed to return the Conservative Party to power in an election expected in 1974 or 1975. This budget led to a period known as "The Barber Boom". The measures in the budget led to high inflation and wage demands from Public Sector workers. He was forced to introduce anti-inflation measures in September 1972, along with a Prices Commissionand a Pay Board. The inflation of capital asset values was also followed by the 1973 oil crisiswhich followed the Yom Kippur War, adding to inflationary pressures in the economy and feeding industrial militancy (already at a high as a result of the struggle over the Industrial Relations Act 1971).
After a strike by the miners, and a three-day week, Heath called for a general election on 28 February 1974, asking "Who governs Britain?". The election returned a minority Labour Government and
Harold Wilsonas Prime Minister.
Barber did not seek re-election at the general election of October 1974, and left front-line politics. He was made a
Life peeras Baron Barber, of Wentbridge in the County of West Yorkshire, and served as Chairman of Standard Chartered Bankfrom that 1974 to 1987, where John Majorwas his personal assistant. Barber was also a director of BPfrom 1979 to 1988. He visited Nelson Mandelain prison, and was a member of the Franks Committeethat investigated the Falklands War. In 1991, he became chair of the RAF Benevolent Association’s appeal for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, which raised £26 million.
He suffered from
Parkinson's Diseasein later years, and died in Suffolkin 2005. He was married twice, with two daughters from his first marriage.
*npg name|id=05053|name=Anthony Barber
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/23/newsid_2518000/2518927.stm Chancellor orders pound flotation] (BBC, On This Day, 23 June 1972)
* [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article333963.ece Obituary] ("
The Independent", 17 December 2005)
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1937809,00.html Obituary] ("The Sunday Times", 18 December 2005)
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1938879,00.html Obituary] ("
The Times", 19 December 2005)
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1670931,00.html Obituary] ("
The Guardian", 20 December 2005)
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