(a) From the late 18 th century, the demand for foodgrains
increased in Britain due to population growth. As urban areas expanded due to industrialisation, the demand for agricultural products went up, pushing up foodgrain prices.
Under pressure from landed groups, the government also restricted the import of corn. The laws allowing the government to restrict the import of corn were commonly known as the Corn Laws.
(b) The Corn Laws were abolished because industrialists and urban dwellers were unhappy with high food prices. As a result, they forced the British Government to abolish the Corn Laws.
© The abolishing of Com Laws brought following results
(i) After the Corn Laws were abolished, food could be imported into Britain more cheaply than it could be produced within the country.
(ii) British agriculture was unstable to compete with imports.
(iii) Vast areas of land were now left uncultivated and thousands of men and women were thrown out of ’ work. They migrated to the cities or other countries in search of work.
(iv) As the food prices fell, consumption in Britain rose.
From the mid-19th century faster industrial growth in Britain also led to higher incomes and therefore, more food imports.