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New Labour`s Economic Policy


  • Andrew Glyn
  • Stewart Wood


To what extent does the policy of Tony Blair`s government reflect the traditional aspirations of social democracy? In macroeconomic policy the emphasis has been on stability, an understandable response to recent UK economic history, but one which has left sterling dangerously overvalued for an extended period. The strongest policy emphasis has been on a battery of measures aimed at increasing the incentive to work. Paradoxically, for a government which has often treated redistribution as old-fashioned and inappropriate, the greatest impact of these measures has been to redistribute income towards low-income families which already have family members working. Effects on the labour supply appear to be modest, and a particular weakness has been the denial of a strong regional dimension to joblessness. The decision to stick with Conservative spending plans for the government`s first two years brought a squeeze on the public services, and even the rapid growth in health and education spending planned for the next few years is predicated on very slow growth in social security spending rather than increased taxation. Labour`s policies on training and on industrial relations imply greater responsibility for individuals and employers, rather than the state, and private sector solutions with regard to investment in and management of industry and services - even traditionally public services - are instinctively preferred.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Glyn & Stewart Wood, 2000. "New Labour`s Economic Policy," Economics Series Working Papers 49, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:49

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steve Bradley & Jim Taylor, 1996. "Human Capital Formation and Local Economic Performance," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(1), pages 1-14.
    2. Ivan Turok & David Webster, 1998. "The New Deal," Local Economy, London South Bank University, vol. 12(4), pages 309-328, February.
    3. White, Stuart, 2000. "Review Article: Social Rights and Social Contract Political Theory and the New Welfare Politics," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(03), pages 507-532, July.
    4. Webster, David, 2000. "The Geographical Concentration of Labour-Market Disadvantage," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 114-128, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Quintini, Glenda & Martin, John P. & Martin, S├ębastien, 2007. "The Changing Nature of the School-to-Work Transition Process in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Schulze-Cleven, Tobias, 2006. "The Politics of an Experimental Society: Creating Labor Market Flexibility in Europe," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt92x040tt, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.

    More about this item


    labour; unemployment; household income;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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