Did the Major Government Largely Continue Thatcherite Economic Policie

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INTRODUCTION John Major as a successor to Margaret Thatcher was always going to find life difficult. He says himself he rejected any talk of his creating 'Majorism' as Margaret created 'Thatcherism', claiming instead that "The Conservative Party does not belong to any one individual" . His priorities (at least initially) as he saw them were clear; inflation, inflation, inflation. Further to that, he aimed to reduce unemployment, although not through artificial job creation, but by preserving a climate of low inflation in which growth would be encouraged. He aimed to privatise that which was feasible and had not already been done. But the climate in which John Major became Prime Minister was markedly different from that of 1979…show more content…
Major's governments ostensibly continued this policy, although public spending rose from 38¾% of money GDP in Nigel Lawson's last budget to 44¾% in Kenneth Clarke's first. The PSBR rose similarly from a surplus of 1½% GDP in fiscal 1989 to a deficit of 7¾% in fiscal 1993 . Taxation One area in which Major faced criticism from his own party was on his policy of taxation, which has been pointed out as a break in continuity from the Thatcher years. The hugely unpopular poll tax was, rightly, one of the first casualties of the Major administration. His self-styled 'compassionate conservatism' was at odds with the die-hard Thatcherite elements of the party. Direct taxation was raised by £10.3bn , although he did introduce a reduced rate of 20p for a small number of taxpayers in an attempt to widen the tax base and spread the burden more thinly. There was an increase in 'stealth taxation' for example extending the range of VAT to previously zero-rated items and in fact raising the standard rate of Vat from 15 to 17.5%; perhaps the appropriate step in a recession, but at odds with the Thatcher legacy when, in the early 1980s recession, she cut tax. This in fact is one of the areas in which he drew strong criticism from those in the Conservative Party who wished to see him stick a little more faithfully to the Thatcher line. EUROPE Major in 1990-1992 Monetary policy was in the early nineties, of course, defined by membership of

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