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'Buy British' An analysis of UK attempts to turn a slogan into government policy in the 1970's and 1980's

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Higgins



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This article uses newly available state and business records to investigate the effectiveness of Buy British policies when Britain was a member of the EEC between the early 1970's and the mid 1980's -- a period of rapid import penetration and de-industrialisation. We show that government pursued a range of overt and covert measures to combat these economic problems. Overt measures sought to encourage domestic consumers to buy British; covert measures, involving nationalised industries and public procurement, attempted to encourage British firms to source domestically. The article contributes to the emerging business history literature on how Member States tried to exploit loopholes in EEC competition and commercial policy, and it provides new evidence on UK consumer preferences for domestic and imported manufactures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clayton D, Higgins DM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Business History

Year: 2020

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 08/06/2020

Acceptance date: 04/05/2020

Date deposited: 05/05/2020

ISSN (print): 0007-6791

ISSN (electronic): 1743-7938

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2020.1767599


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