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The Problem of Leisure debate

On 13 May 1964, Baroness Burton of Coventry introduced a motion to debate the changing notions of leisure in Britain. As science and technology advanced rapidly throughout the decade, Members envisioned a time where automation might pave the way for less work and more leisure time. The House of Lords considered the need for increased accessibility to cultural leisure pursuits for the population to increase both happiness and productivity.

Teenagers had become a recognised group within the population and Members were particularly concerned with how they spent their free time. With the rise of popular culture and television, pop music provided an outlet for bored teenagers; Lord Willis partly attributed the popularity of the Beatles to their aspirational appeal, showing the potential for the ordinary young man to attain wealth and success. The debate encapsulated a general change in  1960s society with an increase in prosperity, leisure time and technology.

Read the full Problem of Leisure debate in Hansard online