New Right Conservatism

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  • Created by: Tasc24
  • Created on: 17-01-16 14:19


Wherever possible, markets should be free from intervention or interference by government, trade unions, or large powerful corporations. The solution to economic problems lay in the free markets correcting themselves automatically. This meant free markets for products, finance, and labour.


  • Most large, nationalised industries were privatised. These included gas, electricity, water, telecommunications, steel, coal, and railways.
  • Some industries were made open to competition and monopolies were broken up. These included the professions (law, opticians etc.). The financial markets were made more open and competitive and banks were allowed to compete with building societies. 
  • State-run services were opened up and competition between the state itself and private companies.
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New Right believed that powerful trade unions were a barrier to economic progress. They prevented labour markets being flexible, forced wages up too high and prevented technological progress in many industries.


  • The legal powers of trade unions were severely reduced.
  • Unions were forced to make themselves more internally democratic to break up unaccountable leadership groups.
  • The ability of unions to take industrial action to further their aims was reduced.
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Low direct taxation

New Right conservatives saw direct taxes on individuals and private companies as a discentive to work and enterprise.


  • Income tax levels were reduced, especially at higher earning levels. The revenue was made up by higher indirect taxes such as VAT.
  • Taxes on private company profits were reduced.
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Belief that economic problems would solve themselves in the medium term as long as governments resisted the temptation to try to manage the economy. The only justifiable intervention was in controlling the total amount of money in circulation to prevent inflation. 


  • Government did not intervene when there were economic slumps in the early 80s and 90s.
  • Government controlled the money supply tightly.
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Dependency culture

Excessively high levels of welfare benefits are a disincentive to work, enterprise and self-reliance. This created a 'dependency culture' where people became used to relying on state support:


  • Many welfare benefits were reduced or eliminated.
  • Benefits were targeted on those in most need, and who were unable to be self-reliant through no fault of their own.
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Recognition that a much freer society could create the danger of disorder and moral decline. Neoconservative ideals included a strong position on law and order and attempts to maintain traditional, Christian morality. Substantial cultural diversity was discouraged.


  • Strong policing policies, including greater powers to control demonstration and public disorder.
  • Longer, more severe sentences for criminals.
  • Support for the institution of traditional marriage.
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Like traditional conservatives, the New Right emphasised the importance of home ownership.


  • Tenants in local authority housing were given the right to buy their homes at discounted prices and mortgage rates.
  • The markets supplying mortgages were opened up to greater competition and it was made easier for families to obtain mortgages and other credit.
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