Britain’s 1976 IMF crisis marked the nadir of the country’s post-war relative economic decline.
Dramatic elements included a plunging pound and a ‘gilts strike’; the Chancellor’s turnaround at Heathrow and his confrontation with Labour’s left-wing; the arrival in London of a shadowy IMF mission and a personal intervention by the Managing Director; well-leaked cabinet divisions and resistance to Fund conditionality.
As a key turning point in economic policy, there are intriguing resonances for post Brexit-shock Britain.
Richard is Professor of Contemporary Financial History at King’s College London. He is the author of Saving The City; The Great Financial Crisis of 1914 and The Lion Wakes: A Modern History of HSBC amongst many others. As we approach the season of good cheer Richard will lecture on his new book When Britain Went Bust: The 1976 IMF Crisis.