Out of business? The rise (and fall?) of public service marketisation

I’ve written a piece for the IPPR Progressive Review charting the waxing and waning of choice and competition in English public services. Here’s the introduction:

For around 30 years, from the early 1980s to the early 2010s, the marketisation of public services was perhaps the most prominent and significant domestic policy trend in British politics. It began with the Thatcher and Major governments’ privatisations and tentative steps towards quasi‐markets for health and education. It continued through New Labour’s public service reforms. And it dominated the early legislation of the Coalition government.

Yet, in the past seven years or so, the marketisation agenda has dropped from view, fragmented, and in some cases gone into reverse. In this article, I describe the rise and fall of marketisation. I consider a few possible explanations as to why the apparently inexorable momentum of marketisation appears to have stalled. Ultimately, I suggest that for all its waning political salience, marketisation raises important questions for how progressives believe public services should be delivered.

You can read the full article here.

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