Depoliticising Monetary Policy: The Minimum Lending Rate Experiment in Britain in the 1970s

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This article assesses the thinking behind what is perhaps the single most important attempt to depoliticise monetary policy making in postwar Britain prior to the Bank of England Act 1998 - the introduction of the minimum lending rate (MLR) in October 1972. Drawing on recently released primary sources it argues that the MLR was devised to 'defuse' the political implications of Bank Rate policy and thereby shield the government from the consequences of frequent upward shifts in interest rates. MLR is considered as an experiment in 'governing through the market' and it is argued this has implications for how postwar monetary policy is viewed and how state/market relations are analysed, empirically and theoretically, within IPE.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-480
Number of pages18
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • states and markets, monetary policy, minimum lending rate, depoliticisation