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Blueprints for Bankruptcy: How Government Policies Bankrupted British Railways
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Blueprints for Bankruptcy: How Government Policies Bankrupted British Railways

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Ted Gibbins traces a link between BR problems. unparalleled interference and inequitable legislation. The crucial freight decline arose from the Governments rejection of the 'Square Deal" - commercial equality with road transport - demanded by pre-war railways. Government files confirm that legislation was inequitable, but they did not intend to repeal it In 1938. Lord Stamp, LM&SR President forecast "Railways will succumb unless action is taken urgently to free them from crippling legislation". BR succumbed because that legislation was not repealed - BTC Annual Report 1955 "BR is hedged about with restrictions and obligations not shared by competitors". Pre-war railways had made the same complaint.

Wartime sequestration scaled new peaks of iniquity. Railways subsidised users and the War, with charges frozen for 6 years despite Ministerial warnings that it would cause insolvency. Government inertia, wartime sequestration and post war statutes perpetuating 19th century policies were BLUEPRINTS FOR BANKRUPTCY, to which others contributed. Complacent industries lost a world lead in every field, so that railways built to serve them and compelled to provide uneconomic services were left with surplus assets. Inflationary prices of Suppliers, some of whose equipment was not 100% reliable, was overlooked in the unending criticism of BR.

Critics are unaware of the devastating effect of the role of the Transport Tribunal, a Court of Law, which decided the prices which BR could charge for freight and passengers, so that charges remained below inflation rates. Their role and that of Government was criticised by the 1960 Stedeford Committee, whose findings were kept secret until 1991. The Government's "solution" to holding BR prices below costs and inflation rates was interest bearing, repayable loans) No industry, however skilled their managers. could have avoided insolvency in such a situation. Privatisation is promoted by pious hopes and unquantified generalisations. The claim that other

Privatisations were successful is hotly disputed. If past success was a guide. UK would still dominate world trade. BR problems could have ended long ago by removing legal constraints, unfair financial and social burdens, and enforcing comparable safety standards on road transport Now that it appears that transport policy over the past 75 years was flawed, and that road building must be limited, an inevitable reversion of freight would make BR viable. Instead, private sector "entrepreneurs" will get the credit for "recovering" freight traffic lost by Government policies. Having opted for Privatisation, instead of turning the clock back 70 years to geographical groups, railways will revert 170 years to the discredited toll road concept Lines will close and pressures will grow from the road lobby to implement the professionally and statistically discredited concept of Conversion. From it would emerge an ever increasing tax burden from which there is no escape, which will inflate the cost of the National Health Service through accidents and respiratory diseases. Governments will look elsewhere to contain public spending and avoid crippling taxes - Education? Police? Welfare? Health?

Softback, 220 pages

Condition: Good/Very Good

ISBN: 9780952103929

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Updated: 2 April 2024