The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT agreement) signed in 1947 had ended the Imperial Preferences which protected the British Empire including the West Indian cane sugar market and led to mass unemployment in the West indies. The 1948 Nationalities Act paved the way for mass immigration into the UK, but it was not until 1955 when the economic situation improved, that mass immigration started to become a reality.
The Tory Party policy under Churchill and MacMillan encouraged coloured
immigrants to come to the UK – Churchill at one point even said that “
the mother country needs you.” In the early 1960s even Enoch Powell
encouraged immigrants to come over to work in transport and the NHS.
The Bristol Omnibus Bus Company under their manager, former colonel,
Ian Patey, imposed a colour bar on bus crew. This was supported by the
Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) who bravely passed a
resolution banning employment of coloured bus workers in 1955.
”A trap was set up and a young black man” was refused a job in 1963 –
this precipitated a pre-arranged boycott of the buses organised by West
Indians, but with the support of left wing Labour MP Tony Benn and
Bristol university students.
The boycott was inspired by the Rosa Park Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama in 1955.
Within 2 years the first Race Relations Act promoted Frank Soskice
(Jewish)and Maurice Orbach (also Jewish) was rushed through Parliament
banning discrimination on racial grounds in housing, employment and
financial facilities such as mortgages and car insurance and the Race
Relations Board was set up in 1966 to deal with complaints.