Recession news triggers bad memories of 80s

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Figures today revealed the UK economy suffered its biggest contraction since 1980, when GDP plunged by 1.8% in the year's second quarter.

The first number one single of the decade was The Pretenders' Brass in Pocket - but many people began the Eighties rather short of brass themselves.

Margaret Thatcher, who became prime minister in 1979, had inherited a weak economy and high inflation from the outgoing Labour government.

She was swept to power after the 1978/9 Winter of Discontent, the wave of strikes which epitomised the crisis facing the country in the minds of many voters.

1980 saw the Tories tackle inflation by hiking up interest rates and cutting government spending, with chancellor Geoffrey Howe describing the clampdown on expenditure as "inescapable".

The policies would see inflation fall, but at the cost of reduced economic growth and rising unemployment.

Critics condemned the Tories as socially divisive as the number of jobless passed two million by the end of the year, but Mrs Thatcher was determined to stick to her plans, famously declaring: "The lady's not for turning."