IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Farewell to prices and incomes policies: Conservative economic policy-making, 1974-79

Listed author(s):
  • Adrian Williamson


    (Trinity Hall, Cambridge)

Registered author(s):

    From 1960 to 1979, Prices and Incomes Policy ('PIP') was central to Labour and Tory attempts to manage the economy. Since 1979, no Government has attempted direct controls on wages or prices. The Conservatives moved away from controls in the late 1970s. This paper considers two aspects of that change: the move away from PIP and the debates over joining the EMS. In the 1970s, the Conservatives were playing out in microcosm the central economic debates which had tormented policymakers since the 1960s and which were to preoccupy them throughout the 1980s and beyond. In contrast to the Wilson, Heath and Callaghan governments, they were moving away from PIP but they were doing so uncertainly. By default, they decided that markets should fix wages and prices, but with a little discreet assistance from a 'forum'. Whether that would turn back into PIP remained to be seen. They embarked upon, but did not resolve, a key question that then arose: should economic management depend upon close linkage with Europe and the Deutschmark? Or was the UK to be a monetarist island, 'entire of itself'? It is tempting to think that the abandonment of PIP, and British refusal to join the EMS, were inevitable. But this is not so. By 1979, the Conservatives had posed many questions about inflation, but they had arrived at very few answers.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: None.
    Download Restriction: None.

    Paper provided by Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge in its series Working Papers with number 15.

    in new window

    Length: 9,600 words
    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
    Date of revision: 01 Oct 2012
    Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:09
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Price)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.