New at Reason: How Bob Poole and Reason Helped Thatcher Save the Brits Billions

As the world says goodbye to Britain's Iron Lady, former Margaret Thatcher adviser John Blundell recalls the role that Reason Foundation's Robert W. Poole played in the economic revitalization of the United Kingdom:

A central idea was the contracting out of local authority functions to private providers. Contracting out was all but unknown in the U.K. until former Reason editor and Reason Foundation founder Robert W. Poole published the seminal policy monograph, Cut Local Taxes—Without Reducing Essential Services in 1976....The basic point of both publications was that virtually any and all services should be opened up to competition, if not forsaken by the public sector altogether. Properly structured, such a system would improve essential services while reducing costs.

The net result, writes Blundell, was vastly improved services and "huge savings as $90 billion in annual services suddenly cost $60 billion when subjected to competitive bidding."

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