Following a brief spike in the economy known as the ‘Barber Boom’ after the introduction of new economic measures in the 1972 budget, the UK economy had returned to a state of stagnation by 1974. High inflation led to strikes and a general rise in unemployment as UK manufacturing jobs continued their sharp decline. This period was the heyday for squatting in London as students and young people, who could not afford to rent or buy housing, occupied empty houses in rich and poor boroughs. Many areas of London had fallen into disrepair since the post-war redevelopment schemes of the 1940s and 50s. The London dockland areas in particular had been all but abandoned as advances in shipping meant that it had become impossible for London to accommodate new supersized container ships. A Greater London Development Plan had been drafted in 1969 to give the London planning process greater cohesion with regards to prioritizing the maintenance of green spaces within the urban area.
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