Margaret Thatcher and British industry

Posted on 8 Apr 2013 by The Manufacturer

Comments from industrial leaders on the impact of the late Baroness Thatcher on the UK’s economy and industrial profile.

Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman, JCB
Sir Anthony Bamford, JCB chairman

“Margaret Thatcher will be remembered for many things, not least for being Britain’s first woman prime minister. Above all else, she had the courage of her convictions, she led from the front and ensured Britain enjoyed the respect it deserves overseas.”




John Elliott MBE, Chairman, Ebac
John Elliott, chairman of the Ebac Group

“Margaret Thatcher revolutionised the economics of this country, from a very bad state to  very good one, but it was a legacy which was never fulfilled. Her intention was to get us out of the crazy world we were in, but what she did was hijacked by financiers and bankers with a get rich quick mentality. Her intention was to reward effort rather than speculators.”



Master Cutler Mr Neil A MacDonald
The Master Cutler, Neil A MacDonald
The Master Cutler, Neil MacDonald

“Margaret Thatcher has always polarised opinion….  visionary leader or a destroyer of working communities? In the Sheffield region, she will be remembered by some without much affection, and indeed blamed for the decline of the mining and steel industries.

“But she was a determined and resilient reformist, tackling issues that had previously been avoided. And the manufacturing industry we have in Sheffield today is advanced, innovative, export driven… and competitive.”


John Cridland, CBI director general
John Cridland, CBI Director General
John Cridland, CBI Director-General

“Baroness Thatcher’s leadership took the UK out of the economic relegation zone and into the first division. What Baroness Thatcher did to reshape the British economy gave us a generation of growth.”


Colin Larkin, Plant Manager, New Holland Agriculture
Colin Larkin, Plant Manager, CNH UK
Colin Larkin, Plant Manager, CNH UK

“Margaret Thatcher did a very good job with unions as disruptions only cost the businesses money and ultimately jobs. The stable climate we have today in the UK gives us an edge over some of the more militant European countries.

“The privatisation and competition of business has generally, overtime been the right choice. We can see clearly that train services etc. are far better. The exception to this positive impact is in energy services which still appear to do exactly as they please.

“It was a great achievement for Baroness Thatcher to become the first female prime minister – though I am not convinced she was a good role for women in business. There are still no obvious candidates to follow in her footsteps in the political field.

“Finally, I do feel Lady Thatcher’s time in power epitomised the change to a very materialistic nation that selfishly only thinks about ‘number one’. This came about with the selling of council houses and high interest rates in her time as leader.”

Let us know

Did Baroness Thatcher’s policies have an impact on your business or industry? What is your view of the legacy she left for the British economy?

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