The Adam Smith Institute's latest report – Privatization - Reviving the Momentum – calls on the government to embark on a new wave of privatizations, which could net the exchequer in excess of £20bn. Given the worsening state of the economy and the increasing tightness of the public finances, the report notes that such an inflow of funds would be very welcome.
In addition to the revenues generated for the government, a new wave of privatizations would also deliver significant operational benefits, the report says. Previous privatizations have delivered a wide range of improvements, including increased investment, lower prices, greater choice and better service for customers – as well as underpinning billions of pounds worth of economic activity.
The leading privatization candidates identified by the report include the Royal Mail, Channel 4, BBC Worldwide, Scottish Water, Northern Ireland Water, Glas Cymru, the National Air Traffic Control System, as well as government stakes in British Energy and the Nuclear industry.
The report's author, investment analyst Nigel Hawkins, said:
"Privatization in the UK remains unfinished business. The task for Government, of whatever colour, should be to complete it and to reap the many benefits - including proceeds of some £20 billion."