British Politics

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 204–223

From ‘distribution of industry’ to ‘local Keynesianism’: The growth of public sector employment in Britain

  • Jim Tomlinson
Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/bp.2012.10

Cite this article as:
Tomlinson, J. Br Polit (2012) 7: 204. doi:10.1057/bp.2012.10


A striking feature of British economic and political development in the recent past has been the huge increase in employment reliant on state funding, especially in the less prosperous parts of the country. In many cities, direct public employment provides 30–40 per cent of all work, and private sector employment has hardly grown at all in the last 10 years. Despite widespread claims about the predominance of ‘neo-liberalism’ in recent British policy making, the state now provides more employment directly and indirectly than ever before in peacetime. This policy of ‘local Keynesianism’ has not been the outcome of an articulated political programme, but rather has arisen from the combination of a national policy of seeking to expand welfare provision from the proceeds of economic growth, with the striking incapacity of the private sector to create employment across much of Britain.


employment regional policy Keynesianism British economy New Labour 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim Tomlinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK