Friday, 13 January 2012

Thatcher was good for the British Economy – Fact or fiction?

Thatcher was good for the British Economy – Fact or fiction?

Last night I attended a lecture organised by the Suffolk Fabians and the Ipswich Labour Party. The lecture was given by Dr Graham Gudgin who is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge University.

The title of the lecture was: “Can we continue with a Thatcherite free market economy”

As would be expected with a lecture given by the Fabians it led to a debate that included a number of superb contributions from both Fabian and Ipswich Labour members.

In Ipswich a number of our right wing bloggers have an almost unhealthy admiration for anything Thatcher. Gavin Maclure – probably the best of the Tory bloggers is probably the worst offender and believes Thatcher was behind all that is good in Britain.

Graham proved that is wrong- and that we were better off economically in the 30 years before 1979 rather than the 30 years afterwards. Unlike the Tory bloggers I like Graham accept that Blair and Brown are also to blame for some of the mistakes made over the last 30 years.

Here are some of the interesting facts that Dr Gudgin highlighted to show that Thatcher is to blame for the state we are in rather than praise:

From 1950-1979 the growth per capita GDP was at 2.2 % per annum whilst since 1979 it has dropped to 1.8 %

The economy was far more volatile after 1979

The Trade Gap has in almost every year been negative since 1985

Inequalities in income and wealth have grown considerably since 1979

Household debt has grown since 1979

Government Debt has also grown since 1979

UK share of World trade has continued to decrease since 1979

Positives since 1979

Inflation lower

Strikes are rarer

But Dr Gudgin also poured scorn on the current Tory plans for the economy – he believes the Government should increase spending on roads, rail and energy – this will almost certainly reduce Government debt rather than increase it as the Tories believe.

An insightful lecture and a stimulating debate.

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