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Appendix H – 1973 Three-day Week

To reduce electricity consumption, and thus conserve coal stocks, a series of measures were announced on 13 December 1973 by Heath, including the "Three-Day Work Order", more commonly known as the Three-Day Week, which was to come into force at midnight on 31 December. Commercial consumption of electricity would be limited to three consecutive days each week. Heath's objective was business continuity and survival. Rather than risk a total shutdown, working time was reduced with the intent of prolonging the life of available fuel stocks.  In the general election held in February the Conservative campaign emphasised the dispute with the miners and used the slogan "who governs Britain?". The election resulted in the Conservatives losing seats and Labour becoming the largest party in the Commons, but without an overall majority. Heath failed to secure sufficient parliamentary support, and Harold Wilson returned to power for his second term.




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