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ICE Discussion Paper: Potential implications of the nationalisation of infrastructure

This discussion paper identifies the potential effects that nationalising parts of Great Britain’s economic infrastructure, namely rail, water and energy, would have on investment and service delivery.

  • Updated: 14 November 2018
  • Author: David Hawkes, ICE Policy Manager

Key points include:

  • Ultimately, whether services are in public or private ownership, a long-term approach to asset management and investment is needed, supported by sensible regulation, good governance and accountability in order to ensure best value for consumers.
  • Public support for nationalisation as a binary concept is high, but more needs to be done to close the information deficit about the tangible benefits private investment delivers.
  • Nationalisation of rail would have marginal short-term impacts, but in the longer-term an integrated network could improve decision-making and efficiency.
  • At present, the water and energy sectors are funded almost wholly by private investment. There is a real risk that outright nationalisation would see investors move their capital elsewhere, with the public sector then needing to meet the investment requirements for much-needed infrastructure improvements.

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