An analysis of the impact of privatisation and deregulation on the UK bus and coach and port industries
The main objectives of this dissertation are: (1) To analyse the pre and post privatisation and deregulation performance of two United Kingdom industries from the transport sector. (2) To analyse the earning and employment in these industries prior to deregulation and/or privatisation, and to examine what has happened to them after these changes. (3) To investigate any changes that have occurred in trade union density in these industries compared with what has happened in the rest of the economy. (4) To see if there was any evidence of rent sharing prior to privatisation and deregulation. If it did exist, did it continue after privatisation and deregulation, or was it substantially reduced or eliminated. The methodology of the dissertation is eclectic, so it examined these issues from a number of different perspectives, and its contribution to knowledge is incremental. In regard to the bus and coach industry in the newly competitive period following deregulation and privatisation, the major firms emerged almost solely through external rather than organic growth. This went against one of the main aims of privatisation, which was to create a competitive industry of many small-to-medium sized operations. Privatisation and deregulation also failed to stop the decline in passenger numbers, which was another objective of the programme. In the case of the UK ports, it is extremely difficult to conclude that the changing ownership constituted a significant factor in port performance and efficiency. Instead, factors such as geographical location and labour market deregulation seems to have had a greater influence on efficiency in the ports. That the measure of liberalisation most associated with privatisation, and that offered the most in terms of potential gains in efficiency, were those on which major concessions had to be made by the Government to win management support for the political process of privatisation. If managerial support for privatisation was absent then process was unlikely to occur. The underlying success of deregulation and privatisation in these industries has been in reducing the power of trade unions to obtain rent for their members, which was one of the main, if understated aims of the policy.