The British Approach to Privatisation

10 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014

Date Written: June 2014


Thirty or so years after the 1945–51 Labour government nationalised the ‘commanding heights’ of the British economy, these enterprises were collectively losing the equivalent of £2 billion annually in today's money. In 1979 a Conservative government embarked on a programme of privatisation which handed out hefty inducements to managers, employees and investors and yielded total net proceeds of nearly £70 billion over 18 years. The introduction of competition (as well as regulation) reduced overstaffing and strike threats in state‐run industries and eliminated most of the losses.

Keywords: competition, politics, privatisation, regulation, statutory monopoly

JEL Classification: L33, L43, L51

Suggested Citation

Myddelton, D. R., The British Approach to Privatisation (June 2014). Economic Affairs, Vol. 34, Issue 2, pp. 129-138, 2014, Available at SSRN: or

D. R. Myddelton (Contact Author)

Cranfield University ( email )

Bedfordshire MK43 OAL, MK43 0AL
United Kingdom

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