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History of Marketisation on British Policies

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In 1979, Britain went through a political change as Margret Thatcher became prime minister. Thatcher inherited the post when the United Kingdom’s economy was in a state of serious recession, and capitalism needed reinvigorating to combat this she introduced series of social, cultural political and economic reforms and a new capitalist ideology which was a complete turnaround of the post war welfare policies which were characterised by three foundational principles: self-interest, markets and Laisezz Faire. Marketisation was the capitalist ideology introduced and this extended Britain’s capitalism into its neo-liberalism phase.

Neoliberalism has fundamental concepts to its expansion that embody this process:

  1. The promotion of self interest;
  2. Marketisation.

What Effects Did This Have on the British Economy?

This process of marketisation led to several substantial changes in the United Kingdom, especially to the former state commodities such as the Railway, Education, the Steel industry and the Coal industry. The private sector drove up the prices of the Railway exponentially, to the extent that many British people cannot afford to use the Railway system anymore. After the Coal miners’ strike in 1984, many reluctantly drifted back to work, defeated and their political power was never recovered, and the unions were then powerless to prevent the steady stream of mine closures. The privatisation was suggested to be the final nail in the coffin for the British coal industries, without government support the private sector struggled to compete against foreign competition. In turn, this led too many areas particularly in Wales and Northern England suffering with a lack of job opportunities.

Steel Industry

Unfortunately, like the coal industry, the steel industry had been on the decline prior to Thatcher becoming prime minister. This was because of a variety of factors such as a global recession and some controversial political decisions which heavily impacted the steel industry. Thatcher introducing the principle of marketisation leading to the privatisation of many state commodities like the steel industry meant that the steel industry suffered a substantial decline between 1979 and 1981, and the employment almost halved from 156,600 to 88.200. Unfortunately, due numerous different socio-political factors the steel industry continued the downhill trend since the privatisation and the introduction of British steel in 1988. In 1999, British steel merged with the Dutch company Koninklijke Hoogovens to form Corus Group. After a continued decline in the workforce and closures of steel mills like in Ebbw Vale in 2002, the British steel industry was argued to be in a state of decrepitude before the Indian company Tata Steel bought Corus in 2007. In 2016, Tata announced that they wanted to sell its loss-making UK steel business putting 15,000 jobs at risk in sites throughout Britain.

Education Sphere

Before the 1980s the education system in England was designed in a very simple way, it consisted of state comprehensive schools and private schools. Now what we have is intense competition and choice, a fragmented system, a highly differentiated system relying on competition. The different school types are independent schools, academy schools, city technology colleges (CTCs), voluntary aided schools, foundation schools, voluntary controlled schools, and community schools. Each school type is characterised by a unique set of features regarding their autonomy and governance.

The introduction of academies was aimed to help poorer inner-city areas, and this was outlined in Tony Blair’s speech “Education, education, education”. Initially, it was called the City Academies Programme, it was introduced by New Labour as a flagship initiative in 2000. The key ideology was to make a positive difference to disadvantaged areas by allowing the private sector to sponsor state secondary schools which were underperforming. The notion was to introduce a business style ethos of the school which are funded by taxpayers’ money. This meant that the school would be taken away from the governance of the Local Education Authority and the sponsor would be given the freedom to run the school. This freedom was significant because it allows schools to be exempt from national regulation, the National Curriculum, and the legislation and pay conditions for the staff.

Since the implementation of the academy ideology, its been very high on the British government’s agenda, and the programme broadened exponentially with the introduction of the Academies bill. This would allow any school primary or secondary who are underperforming to become an academy. There has been increased pressure from government representatives and Michael Gove over since the introduction of the bill for all schools to become academies. Currently, there are 8,973 academies in England, with 33% being primary schools and 68% being secondary schools.


Marketisation was the capitalist ideology named after Margret Thatcher – one of the prime minister of Britain. Marketisation is the insertion of the principle of market into every aspect of life, this had affects into provisions that were considered to be entitlements provided by the state including the National Rail service, education and the steel and the ship building industry. The general idea was that the private sector would be able to make sufficient improvements to run with autonomy, at lower costs and to be more efficient. This led to whole series of political, social, cultural and economic reforms which were characterised by Individualisation and individualism that took over any idea of solidarity and cooperation.

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History of Marketisation on British Policies. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from
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