The Open UniversitySkip to content

UK Privatization revisited: ideas and policy change, 1979-92

Heffernan, Richard (2005). UK Privatization revisited: ideas and policy change, 1979-92. Political Quarterly, 76(2) pp. 264–272.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Privatisation in the UK was facilitated by the interplay of ideas, institutions, actors, and economic interests. The motivations of the programme were ideational and political, but the objectives were economic and administrative. Together these paved the way for the success of the policy. Although several rationales were at play in the unfolding of privatisation, the ideological predilection of the Thatcher governments underpinned this far-reaching policy reform. This explains why the Thatcher government did not reform nationalized industries within the public sector, but instead shifted them into the private sector. Privatisation succeeded because it was championed by new right policy entrepreneurs, was supported by interest groups prepared to support, or least not impede, such dramatic policy change, and when the public enterprise status quo was deemed in need of reform. Of course, ideas only act as a catalyst for policy change when an established policy agenda having withered, been worn-out or otherwise discredited, can then be successfully challenged.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 0032-3179
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 4519
Depositing User: Users 13 not found.
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 09:52
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340