Competition, regulation, and the privatisation of British Rail
organisation - competition, organisation - privatisation, mode - rail, place - europe
Britain, privatisation, free market, passenger rail
The privatisation programme pursued by successive Conservative administations in the 1979 - 97 period was based on neoliberal values, and was aimed at the reduction of public sector involvement in industry by the promotion of a competitive 'free' market. However, despite this ideological objective, several large utility companies were privatised as regulated monopolies. Against this background, in a notable reorientation of privatisation policy, the Major administration attempted to secure a genuine movement towards market liberalisation when it divested British Rail (BR). An elaborate methodology was used to break BR's monopoly and establish a competitive market for the provision of passenger rail services. The authors argue that, notwithstanding the complexity of the rail sell-off, competition has not materialised and BR's monopoly has to all intents and purposes been reconstituted in the private sector.
Permission to publish has been given by Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, copyright remains with them.
Gibb, R., Shaw, J., & Charlton, C. (1998), "Competition, regulation, and the privatisation of British Rail" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 16(6) 757 – 768.