CLAIM TO FAME
Raised huge sums to help fund Britain’s commitment to World War One
George May left Cranleigh aged 16 and joined the Prudential Assurance Company, rising to company secretary by the start of World War One. In that capacity, he helped raise large sums in the USA to help fund the war, and was created a KBE in 1918. On retiring from the company in 1931, he was asked to chair a committee to look into the economy.
The May report, published in July of that year at the height of an economic crisis, identified a massive deficit and called for stringent cuts to education and unemployment expenditure. This led to parliament being recalled and the dissolution of the Labour government and the formation of Ramsey MacDonald’s National Government. It also led to a mass withdrawal of funds by foreign investors and caused Britain to abandon the Gold Standard. He then became chairman of the Import Duties Advisory Committee and played an active role in the reorganistion of the British iron and steel industries. He was raised to the peerage as Baron May of Weybridge in 1935.