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Making Transport Policy in Britain

  • Stephen Glaister
  • June Burnham
  • Handley Stevens
  • Tony Travers
Chapter
Part of the Public Policy and Politics book series (PPP)

Abstract

One of the strengths of the British system of governance is the collective responsibility of ministers for all aspects of the government’s policy; but this collective strength carries with it the consequence that the minister responsible for transport is by no means a free agent. Other ministers, especially the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chief Secretary (Treasury) and the ministers responsible for planning and local government, for environmental protection and for industrial competitiveness all have a major impact on the shaping of transport policies. Implementation is in the hands of a very wide range of agents in both the public and the private sector, and although the Department of Transport controls some of them directly, its ability to influence others is more limited, particularly after 18 years of Conservative governments committed to ‘rolling back the frontiers of the State’. Between 1979 and 1997 governments turned increasingly to the market to provide competitive transport services subject to a minimum of regulation in the public interest, rejecting coordination by politicians and bureaucrats in departments, councils and corporations. The Labour government elected in May 1997 inherited a structure of government that allows the transport industries more freedom from government control than at any time since at least 1930 and probably since before the First World War.

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Further Reading

  1. Cabinet Office (various years), Civil Service Yearbook (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  2. Department of Transport (various years) [Annual Report] Transport: The Government’s Expenditure Plans…… (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  3. James, S. (1992) British Cabinet Government (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  4. Stoker, G. (1991) The Politics of Local Government, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banister, D. (1994) Transport Planning in the UK, USA and Europe (London: Spon).Google Scholar
  6. Truelove, P. (1972) Decision Making in Transport Planning (Harlow: Longman).Google Scholar
  7. Wistrich, E. (1983) The Politics of Transport (Harlow: Longman).Google Scholar
  8. Transport Committee (1982), Fifth Report [session 1981–82], Transport in London, HC 127-I (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
  9. Travers, T. and Jones, G. (1997) The New Government of London (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation).Google Scholar
  10. Glaister, S. and Travers, T. (1997) Governing the Underground: Funding, Management and Democracy for London’s Tube (Centre for Regulated Industries, June).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen Glaister, June Burnham, Handley Stevens and Tony Travers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Glaister
  • June Burnham
  • Handley Stevens
  • Tony Travers

There are no affiliations available

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