The economy
in Understanding British and European political issues

This chapter identifies several important features of economic policy in the period since the 1960s. The development of Labour's economic policy in 1996-1997 can be better understood in the light of Britain's experience with economic recession in the early 1990s. The reaction of the Labour party to the economic reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s was to dominate the course of politics in Britain in the final twenty years of the twentieth century. The reforms represented both a pragmatic attitude to economic management, and a compromise with those Thatcherite policies which had proved to be successful. The chapter describes the nature of the post-war economic consensus. It examines the main developments which have occurred since 1997in more detail. The most important decisions were taken at the beginning of Labour's administration and have proved to be the most radical changes which have occurred since the end of the keynesian consensus.

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