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Nigel Lawson (11/03/32-)

Now known as a former fat man whose daughter is a famous chef and whose full title is Baron Lawson of Blaby was Chancellor of the Exchequer between June 1983 and October 1989. He began his career as a financial journalist and progressed to the position of editor of The Spectator before becoming a Member of Parliament in 1974. In 1979 Lawson was appointed to the position of Financial Secretary to the Treasury and he pushed through such measures as the ending of unofficial state controls on mortgage lending, the abolition of exchange controls  and the publication of the Medium Term Financial Strategy . In September 1981 he was promoted to the position of Secretary of State for Energy in which he prepared for what he saw as an inevitable full-scale strike in the coal industry over the closure of pits. An anagram of his name is, appropriately during this time of mass unemployment, is we all sign on.

Lawson was a key proponent of Margaret's government's privatisation policy setting up the gas and electricity industries for sell off and later worked closely with the Department of Trade and Industry in privatising British Airways and British Telecom. In 1983 he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and the 1984 budget reformed corporate taxes by a combination of reduced rates and reduced allowances. The 1985 budget continued the trend of shifting from direct to indirect taxes by reducing National Insurance contributions for the lower-paid while extending the base of value-added tax. The 1986 he reduced the standard rate of income tax from 30% as unemployment began to fall from the middle of 1986 the era became known as the 'The Lawson Boom'.

Critics of Lawson assert that his exchange rate policies unleashed an inflationary spiral but Lawson points to lack of flexibility in the UK economy engendered by Margaret  vetoing the UK joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1985. Lawson opposed the introduction of the Poll Tax as a replacement for the previous rates system. More irksome was the re-employment by Margaret  of Alan Walters as her personal economic adviser and clashes with Walters over exchange rate policy caused his resignation in 1989. After retiring from front-bench politics, Lawson decided, on his doctor's advice and eat less losing five stone in a matter of a few months, dramatically changing his appearance.