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27 Working Paper

Taking the Jewel From Labour's Crown? Mrs. Thatcher's Assault on the British Welfare State

1990 Paul Pierson


No other modern welfare state has faced the kind of sustained and severe pressures confronted by British social programs in the past decade. This paper offers an assessment of the Thatcher government's impact on social provision. That impact has varied from program to program, because while cutbacks are rarely popular, some program structures facilitate the mobilization of retrenchment opponents and others do not. The paper concludes by outlining some of the implication of the Thatcher record for the study of welfare state development.