This first volume of the Official History studies the background to privatisation, and the privatisations of the first two Conservative Governments led by Margaret Thatcher from May 1979 to June 1987. First commissioned by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair as an authoritative history, this volume addresses a number of key questions:
The study draws heavily from the official records of the British Government to which the author was given full access and from interviews with leading figures involved in each of the privatisations – including ex-Ministers, civil servants, business and City figures, as well as academics that have studied the subject. This new official history will be of much interest to students of British political history, economics and business studies.
1: Nationalisation to Privatisation: 1945-79 – the Genesis of a Policy Idea. 2: The Conservative Party, Nationalisation and the 1979 General Election. 3: Balancing the Books: Privatisation and the 1979-83 Government. 4: Privatising Oil. 5: Privatising British Aerospace and Cable and Wireless. 6: Privatising Amersham International, the National Freight Corporation and Associated British Ports. 7: The First Four Years – A Retrospective. 8: Into the Heartlands of the Public Trading Sector: Privatisation and the 1983-7 Thatcher Government. 9: Privatising British Airways, Rolls-Royce, Shipbuilding and the Royal Dockyards. 10: Privatising Bus Transport and the Royal Ordnance Factories. 11: Privatising British Telecom: The Decision to Privatise. 12: Privatising British Telecom: OFTEL and Regulating Profits or Prices. 13: Privatising British Telecom: The Flotation and Repercussions. 14: The Privatisation of British Gas: The Decision to Privatise and Designing an Appropriate Regulatory Regime. 15: The Privatisation of British Gas: The Flotation and Aftermath.
The Government Official History series began in 1919 with wartime histories, and the peacetime series was inaugurated in 1966 by Harold Wilson. The aim of the series is to produce major histories in their own right, compiled by historians eminent in the field, who are afforded free access to all relevant material in the official archives. The Histories also provide a trusted secondary source for other historians and researchers while the official records are not in the public domain. The main criteria for selection of topics are that the histories should record important episodes or themes of British history while the official records can still be supplemented by the recollections of key players; and that they should be of general interest, and, preferably, involve the records of more than one government department.