British Leyland, renowned for being a horrendously inefficient car manufacturer, was nationalised in 1975 after it went bankrupt ©123RF
British Leyland, renowned for being a horrendously inefficient car manufacturer, was nationalised in 1975 after it went bankrupt ©123RF

Does the UK need a “proper industrial strategy”?

25 November 2016

Why does Theresa May want the UK to develop a “proper industrial strategy”? The very idea, an underlying theme in Philip Hammond’s first Autumn statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer, seems to suggest that the free market, which Conservatives traditionally venerate, doesn’t always know best.

This isn’t the kind of proposition that would impress Milton Friedman, the economist who influenced Margaret Thatcher, the Tory prime minister May is so often likened to. Friedman’s contempt for state intervention was pithily expressed in the remark: “If you put the government in charge of the Sahara, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.”

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