We consider the economic record of the 1997–2010 Labour government in the UK. Following a brief review of the government’s inheritance from its predecessor, we review the assessments made in the other papers in this issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy: the change in the macroeconomic policy framework (which apparently worked well for a decade but was then struck by the global financial crisis); labour market, social security, and education policies and inequality; public investment and public service delivery (especially health); and corporate taxation. We discuss the constraints under which the government operated, how much it broke with the past, and the new frameworks it introduced. We identify strengths and weaknesses and draw lessons from the government’s record about the need to remain receptive to other and critical ideas, on the one hand, and the need for Labour to spell out the kind of economy and society it wants to see develop, on the other.
- United Kingdom economic policy, macroeconomic framework, public expenditure, inequality, public services