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Born at Neath, Glamorganshire, the son of Canon John Neale and Catherine Alicia Dalton, on 26 August 1887. His father had been tutor to King George V when Prince of Wales and he was a Canon of St. George's Chapel, Windsor from 1885 until his death in 1931. His mother was the daughter of Charles Evans-Thomas of Gnoll House, Neath. Hugh Dalton was educated at Summer Fields, Oxford, and Eton before he entered King's College, Cambridge, where he was classed junior optime in the first part of the mathematics tripos in 1909. He went on to read econom- ics under A.C. Pigou and J.M. Keynes, taking the second part of the economics tripos in 1910. One of his closest friends was Rupert Brooke. Under the influence of Keir Hardie, he joined the Fabian Society. He was called to the Bar in 1914. After World War I, during which he served in France and Italy, he became a research student at the London School of Economics.
Dalton published his Principles of public finance in 1923. By this time, he had entered the world of politics and he was elected M.P. for Peckham in 1924. He changed his constituency to Bishop Auckland which he won in 1929. He was Chairman of the Labour Party in 1936-37. During World War II he was appointed Minister of Economic Warfare and he was responsible for creating the Special Operations Executive, an organisation to strengthen internal resistance in the countries occupied by the Germans. Dalton was moved to the Board of Trade in 1942 and his efforts there led to the setting up of the Ministry of Fuel and Power and the National Coal Board. He prepared for peacetime by steering industry to depressed areas. After the Labour victory in 1945, Dalton became Chancellor of the Exchequer and he appointed J.M. Keynes as his personal adviser. Despite a number of achievements, his time as Chancellor was disappointing, on the whole, and it came to a sudden end when, at a weak moment, he revealed some of the contents of the 1947 Budget as he was on his way to the House to deliver his speech. By this time, Dalton was one of the leading figures in the Labour Party. He was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1948. Dalton did not stand at the 1959 election and he was given a life peerage in 1960. He married Ruth, daughter of Thomas Hamilton Fox, in 1914 and they had one daughter who died in early childhood. Dalton died on 13 February 1962.
Published date: 2001
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