8th April 2013
The former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died today at the age of 87. Lady Thatcher will always divide opinion but even opponents acknowledge her strong convictions and determination to do what she saw as right. She did a huge amount to change the economic and social framework of the United Kingdom. Her decade and more in power was a watershed in British politics perhaps only rivalled in peacetime in the 20th century by the post-war Atlee government. Many more companies listed on the stock exchange, the City witnessed the Big Bang which changed the face of financial services for ever, and much greater emphasis was placed on individual responsibility. She signed the hugely significant single European Act but also won a substantial rebate and finally championed the cause of British sovereignty although still within Europe.
The Government enforced tough measures for industrial relations. Home ownership was championed and expanded hugely with more than a million council homes bought by their tenants. Some economic policies including the embrace of monetarism were very controversial and some feel that Britain’s industrial base narrowed as a result. Others say that the new sense of competition saw the emergence of globally competitive British companies. Huge numbers of people began to save in Peps and Tessas, the fore-runner of Isas, and the first personal pensions were created. In the coming days, we will consider the legacy of Lady Thatcher from different economic and investment points of view.
But for now we will leave you with the view of the Prime Minister David Cameron who has hailed Baroness Thatcher. He said: “It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”