Deloitte-uk-queens-jubilee-quiz

For the first time in more than 12 years the Monday Briefing is appearing early, on a Thursday. This break with precedent has been triggered by a still greater landmark, the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. To mark the occasion, and to provide a possible diversion over the Bank Holiday break, the Economics team offers a Platinum Jubilee quiz. There are 14 questions, one to mark each prime minister who has served during the Queen’s long reign. For the purpose of simplicity most numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number. The answers along with an explanation of the factors at work follow question 14.

  1. A study published at the end of last year by the Resolution Foundation found that the wealthiest 1% of the UK’s population owned 23% of all wealth. What proportion of total wealth was held by the top 1% in 1952, the year that Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne?
    1. 23%
    2. 12%
    3. 60%
    4. 39%
  2. In 2022, 148,000 people are serving in the UK armed forces across the army, navy and air force. How many people were serving in the armed forces in 1952 at the start of Queen Elizabeth’s reign?
    1. 4,900,000
    2. 872,000
    3. 312,000
    4. 208,000
  3. There have been 14 prime ministers during the Queen’s 70-year reign, the first being Winston Churchill. Unsurprisingly, her longest serving prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, oversaw the greatest absolute growth in the size of the economy. Which prime minister saw the greatest annual average rise in living standards, as measured by GDP per capita, between the year they took office and the year they left?
    1. Alec Douglas-Home (1963-1964)
    2. Winston Churchill (1951-1955)
    3. Tony Blair (1997-2007)
    4. James Callaghan (1976-1979)
  4. In its most recent forecasts UK fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, predicts that public sector debt will be equivalent to 96% of GDP in the current fiscal year. Where did the ratio of government debt to GDP stand in 1952?
    1. 22%
    2. 78%
    3. 170%
    4. 247%
  5. In 2021 the female labour force participation rate for those aged over-15 stood at 58% in 2021. Where did the female labour force participation rate stand at the beginning of the Queen’s reign? 
    1. 15%
    2. 25%
    3. 35%
    4. 45%
  6. The latest estimate for the size of the UK population is approximately 67m. What was it in 1952?
    1. 24m
    2. 39m
    3. 51m
    4. 62m
  7. If you had bought an index of UK shares in 1952 how much would you have made by 2022 after allowing for inflation?
    1. 261%
    2. 345%
    3. 569%
    4. 126%
  8. In 1952 about 290,000 migrated to the UK. In the same year how many people left the UK to migrate to other countries?
    1. 122,000
    2. 77,000
    3. 296,000
    4. 383,000
  9. According to the latest Local Authority Building Control data, new British houses have an average area of 68 square metres. What was the average size of a new house built in the 1950s?
    1. 93
    2. 88
    3. 77
    4. 54
  10. In 1952 the UK accounted for just over 16% of global exports of manufactured goods. What is the equivalent figure today?
    1. 3%
    2. 7%
    3. 2%
    4. 5%
  11. According to the latest available statistics on higher education participation, 53% of 17- to 30-year-olds in Britain were in higher education in 2020. Roughly, what percentage of young British people were in higher education when the Queen acceded to the throne in 1952?
    1. 24%
    2. 18%
    3. 7%
    4. 3%
  12. When the Queen acceded to the throne in 1952, there were 2m licensed private cars in the UK. How many cars were there on the roads today?
    1. 12m
    2. 36m
    3. 30m
    4. 24m
  13. The pound has fallen by 11% against the US dollar in the last year to $1.26 reflecting a wider movement into the perceived safety of the dollar and concerns about UK economic prospects. What was the pound-dollar exchange rate in 1952?
    1. $2.80
    2. $4.80
    3. $10.00
    4. $2.40
  14. Arguably the two most significant events of the Queen’s reigns in terms of Britain’s relationship with Europe have been the 1975 referendum that overwhelmingly ratified the UK’s decision to enter the EU and the 2016 referendum that produced a narrower vote in favour of leaving. In the June 2016 EU referendum the UK voted 51.2% to 48.1% to leave the EU. What proportion of the UK population voted to remain in the EU in 1975?
    1. 67.2%
    2. 53.4%
    3. 74.6%
    4. 61.1%

Answers

  1. A study published at the end of last year by the Resolution Foundation found that the wealthiest 1% of the UK’s population owned 23% of all wealth. What proportion of total wealth was held by the top 1% in 1952, the year that Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne?
  1. 23%
  2. 12%
  3. 60%
  4. 39%

Answer: D (39%). The share of wealth held by the wealthiest 1% declined throughout the 20th century, initially driven by rising taxes, falling from 71% in 1900 to a low of 15% in 1985, before modestly rising since. An illustration of the changing nature of wealth is given by the Sunday Times Rich List. When first published in 1989 the Queen topped a list that was dominated by people who had inherited their wealth and contained a considerable number of aristocrats. The Queen is no longer counted among the country’s wealthiest 200 people, although this reflects a decision not to include items such as the royal collection of art which are not considered personal wealth. The current Rich List includes many more who have made their fortunes themselves, often abroad.

  1. In 2022, 148,000 people are serving in the UK armed forces across the army, navy and air force. How many people were serving in the armed forces in 1952 at the start of Queen Elizabeth’s reign?
  1. 4,900,000
  2. 872,000
  3. 312,000
  4. 208,000

Answer: B (872,000). In 1952 Britain was engaged in the Korean war, which saw British, US and South Korean forces among others fighting North Korean and Chinese troops. The war, which ended with the division of the Korean peninsula, saw 1,100 British soldiers die. Almost 5m people were serving in the UK armed forces by the end of the second world war, 312,000 at the fall of the Berlin Wall and 208,000 as recently as 2000. Against a backdrop of rising international tensions it is striking that the regular UK’s army is due to shrink to 72,500 personnel, fewer than at any time since 1714.

  1. There have been 14 prime ministers during the Queen’s 70-year reign, the first being Winston Churchill. Unsurprisingly, her longest serving prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, oversaw the greatest absolute growth in the size of the economy. Which prime minister saw the greatest annual average rise in living standards, as measured by GDP per capita, between the year they took office and the year they left?
  1. Alec Douglas-Home (1963-1964)
  2. Winston Churchill (1951-1955)
  3. Tony Blair (1997-2007)
  4. James Callaghan (1976-1979)

Answer: A (Alec Douglas-Home). While Alec Douglas-Home was prime minister for only 363 days following the resignation of Harold Macmillan, it coincided with one of the best years for growth in the Queen’s reign. GDP per capita grew by 5% between 1963 to 1964. Churchill and Callaghan are practically tied for second place. Annual economic growth has been on a long-run downward trend since the middle of the 20th century when GDP per capita would grow by around 3% a year on average. In the 19 years prior to the pandemic, it averaged 1%.

  1. In its most recent forecasts UK fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, predicts that public sector debt will be equivalent to 96% of GDP in the current fiscal year. Where did the ratio of government debt to GDP stand in 1952?
  1. 22%
  2. 78%
  3. 170%
  4. 247%

Answer: C (170%). In the early 1950s Britain was still paying down the huge debts accumulated during the war which had reached a peak of 247% in 1945-46. Public debt was paid down and inflated away in the second half of the 20th century to reach a post-war low of 22% of GDP in 1991. The financial crisis and then the pandemic led to large increases in government borrowing relative to GDP taking the ratio to 96% today.

  1. In 2021 the female labour force participation rate for those aged over-15 stood at 58% in 2021. What was the labour force participation rate for women at the beginning of the Queen’s reign?
  1. 15%
  2. 25%
  3. 35%
  4. 45%

Answer: C (35%). In the 1950s many women stopped working once they married and the workforce participation rate for this group was even lower than for all women, at around 20%. As a working woman with children the Queen was in a minority.

  1. The latest estimate for the size of the UK population is approximately 67m. What was it in 1952?
  1. 24m
  2. 39m
  3. 51m
  4. 62m

Answer: C (51m). The population of the UK has risen by 16m or 31% since 1952. The country experienced a prolonged post-war baby boom. Population growth increased again from the 1990s due to an increase in net inward migration as a result of a greater availability of work visas and, from 2004, with the expansion of the EU into central and eastern Europe.

  1. If you had bought an index of UK shares in 1952, what would have been your return after adjusting for inflation?
  1. 261%
  2. 345%
  3. 569%
  4. 126%

Answer: B (345%). The last 70 years have been a good time to hold UK shares helped by the deregulation of financial markets in the 1980s and, in the last four decades, a progressive decline in interest rates. While UK shares have done well during the Queen’s reign investors would have done even better had they invested in US shares that have benefited from a strong weighting in technology stocks and, for a UK resident, the dollar’s long rise against sterling. The early 1970s were a bad time to hold UK shares, with rapidly rising inflation and economic uncertainty leading to significant losses.

  1. In 1952 about 290,000 people came to the UK as immigrants. In the same year how many people left the UK to migrate to other countries?
  1. 122,000
  2. 77,000
  3. 296,000
  4. 383,000

Answer: D (383,000). 45,000 more people left the UK to live overseas than arrived to live here. Indeed, from the 1850s, when international migration data first became available, to the 1980s, more people left the UK than migrated to it. The UK was, in short, a ‘net exporter’ of people in global terms, with large numbers leaving, particularly for North America, Australia, New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, South America. In the post-war period there was much political debate about the so-called ‘brain drain’ of higher skilled people leaving the UK to seek opportunities in faster growing, more dynamic economies overseas. Since the 1990s the trend has changed, and the UK has become a ‘net importer’ of people, with more people arriving in the UK than are leaving.

  1. According to the latest Local Authority Building Control data, new British houses have an average area of 68 square metres. What was the average size of a new house built in the 1950s?
  1. 93
  2. 88
  3. 77
  4. 54

Answer: C (77 square metres, 13% larger than today). Houses built in the 1950s were substantially bigger than those before the war, with an average area of 77sq m compared to 68sq m in the 1930s. Britain built the biggest houses in the 1970s, with an average area of 83sq m. Since then the average size of new-build houses has shrunk by almost a fifth, back to 68sq m.

  1. In 1952 the UK accounted for just over 16% of global exports of manufactured goods. What is the equivalent figure today?
  1. 3%
  2. 7%
  3. 2%
  4. 5%

Answer: A (3%). In the heyday of Britain’s industrial economy in the 1860s, before the full emergence of the German and US as industrial super-powers, the UK accounted for almost half of world exports of manufactured goods. By 1900 that share had fallen to just over 30%, by 1952 16% and to about 3% today.

  1. According to the latest available statistics on higher education participation, 53% of 17- to 30-year-olds in Britain were in higher education in 2020. Roughly, what percentage of young British people were in higher education when the Queen acceded to the throne in 1952?
  1. 24%
  2. 18%
  3. 7%
  4. 3%

Answer: D (3% in 1950). Participation in higher education has risen steadily during this period as successive governments have prioritised improving access to university degrees, with the Blair government setting a target in 1999 to send half of Britain's young adults to university. The growing participation among women has also been a major contributor to this increase. Indeed, 61% of young women were in higher education in 2019-20, compared to 46% of young men.

  1. When the Queen acceded to the throne in 1952, there were 2m licensed private cars in the UK. How many cars were there on the roads today?
  1. 12m
  2. 36m
  3. 30m
  4. 24m

Answer: C (30m, almost 14 times as many as in 1952). In 1952, less than 30% of distance travelled in the UK was by private vehicle. As people got richer and cars became more affordable, ownership rose. By 1970, three-quarters of all distance travelled in Britain was by private vehicle. The figure reached 85% in the late 1980s and has stabilised since then along with total distance driven each year.

  1. The pound has fallen by 11% against the US dollar in the last year to $1.26 reflecting a wider movement into the perceived safety of the dollar and concerns about UK economic prospects. What was the pound-dollar exchange rate in 1952?
  1. $2.80
  2. $4.80
  3. $10.00
  4. $2.40

Answer: A ($2.80, more than twice today’s value). For most of the 19th century and first half of 20th century one pound bought $4.80. A brief exception was in the early 1860s when, because of the economic pressures caused by the Civil War, the dollar depreciated to $10 to the pound. For much of the last two centuries the slang term in the UK for five shillings (25p today) was ‘a dollar’. In the era of the Gold Standard the sterling exchange rate was generally fixed, but in the post-war period, with the UK burdened with vast wartime debts, the pound came under intense selling pressure. In the 1948 the then chancellor, Stafford Cripps, announced a 30% devaluation of the pound from $4.03 to $2.80. Sterling was famously devalued again in 1967 by prime minister Harold Wilson who explained the move to voters by saying it would not affect the value of “the pound in your pocket”. This took the rate from $2.80 to $2.40. Finally, in 1971, with the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system for fixing currencies, the pound was untethered from the dollar, starting a decline that, more than 50 years later, has halved its value.

  1. Arguably the two most significant events of the Queen’s reigns in terms of Britain’s relationship with Europe have been the 1975 referendum that overwhelmingly ratified the UK’s decision to enter the EU and the 2016 referendum that produced a narrower vote in favour of leaving. In the June 2016 EU referendum the UK voted 51.2% to 48.1% to leave the EU. What proportion of the UK population voted to remain in the EU in 1975?
  1. 67.2%
  2. 53.4%
  3. 74.6%
  4. 61.1%

Answer: A (67.2% with 32.7% of voters voting to leave). In 1975 and 2016 support for EU membership was strongest among those with higher socio-economic status (income, education and home ownership). But some voting behaviours shifted between 1975 and 2016. Young voters, Labour supporters and Mirror newspaper readers disproportionately favoured leave in 1975. By 2016 these groups were firmly in the remain camp. Conversely, older voters, Conservative voters and Daily Telegraph readers were strongly remain in 1975 but by 2016 these groups were much more inclined to vote leave. The change party reflects the changing role and character of the EU. In 1975, when Mrs Thatcher campaigned for remain, the European Economic Community (EEC) was widely seen as a free trade body, something that resonated with older voters on the centre-right. By 2016 the EEC had become the EU and had acquired a broader, more social and political character, with particular appeal to often younger voters on the centre-left.