The Business team at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) are delighted to announce the publication of research exploring industrial policy in the UK since 1979 by a member of their team.

A publication written by James Silverwood, Senior Lecturer in Business at BGU, and his co-author, Richard Woodward of Technological University, Dublin, is now free to read on the website of the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, a journal of significant international repute.

The journal article ‘What we do in the shadows: dual industrial policy during the Thatcher governments, 1979-1990’ argues that, in contrast to the common narrative of British politics that industrial policy (that implemented to support and divert economic resources between economic sectors, firms, and activities) was abandoned by the Thatcher governments after 1979, industrial policy remained an integral element of neoliberal statecraft, a situation that continued under subsequent governments of John Major (1992-1997) and Tony Blair (1997-2007).

In order to disentangle myth from reality the journal article introduces the conceptualisation of the dual industrial policy. Here, codified industrial policy refers to those explicitly endorsed by the Thatcher governments normally corresponding with neoliberalism’s ideological hostility to industrial intervention.

Meanwhile, uncodified industrial policy was intended to affect the allocation of resources between economic activities, these policies were never formally acknowledged by the Thatcher governments as industrial policy been dispersed across government departments under alternative nomenclature.

Speaking about his research, James Silverwood, said: “At first glance this paper might be considered purely historical, but actually helps us to understand why the current British economy enriches certain people and communities over others.

“The Thatcher governments spent considerable sums supporting economic activities that boosted income and wealth disproportionally in South-East England. We therefore have a greater understanding of why the British economy is so unequal and unfair.”

You can read the journal article here:

5th April 2022