Sources of Finance
When Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative government came to power in 1979 the road haulage industry and private vehicles were paid for by the private sector, as was shipping and much of the civil aviation industry; but large parts of the transport sector — buses and trains, roads and railways, ports and airports — were still wholly or largely owned and operated by agents of central or local government. In the case of roads construction and maintenance, finance also came from central or local government, and central or local government made substantial financial contributions to subsidize users of public transport. The Conservative administrations sought to disengage government from the transport sector: to privatize, to deregulate and to put residual administrative control in the hands of new, single-purpose bodies such as the Highways Agency and the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising. There has been a parallel policy of shifting responsibility for funding from the public to the private sector. Chapter 3 discussed the new administrative arrangements. This chapter outlines the responsibilities for funding that remain with central and local governments, and the new sources of privatesector finance.
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