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These state monopolies reduced consumer choice. For example, only one producer supplied gas, and only one producer supplied electricity. Power lay with government ministers. A nationalised industry could not diversify its business. It could not close down any activity without government permission. For capital investment funds, it had to apply to the Treasury. A change of political party in power led to a change in policy. In May 1979, the newly-elected Conservative government began a programme of privatisation and de-regulation that took 15 years.  Gradually…

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