Judgments about Britain’s economic performance are constantly being made, often based on inadequate evidence. In this paper, Professor Nicholas Crafts, one of Britain’s leading economic historians, assembles the evidence, places recent performance in a long-run context and makes informed judgements about whether Britain is suffering from absolute or relative decline.
His book is a mine of information about economic trends since the 1870s, giving details of the GDP, productivity, investment, educational attainment, taxation and other statistics that are relevant if proper assessments of economic performance are to be made.
One of his conclusions is that the economic reforms which began with the Thatcher governments, and which have broadly been continued under New Labour, have made a difference, avoiding some of the ‘government failures’ of earlier years. How managers respond to the revolution in information and communications technology is now a key factor in determining Britain’s future performance.