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Volume 171: debated on Friday 27 April 1990

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To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the Government's privatisation programme since 1979, and what were (a) the net receipts from each sale, (b) the number of shareholders now registered for each privatised company, (c) the number of employee shareholders in each privatised company and (d) the profit or loss for each company in their final year in state ownership.

Privatisation is recognised worldwide as one of this Government's bold and far-reaching achievements. Twenty-nine major businesses have been privatised and almost 50 per cent. of the 1979 state sector and around 800,000 jobs have been transferred to the private sector. Receipts so far amount to some £27·5 billion, with future sales projected at a rate of about £5 billion a year.The information my hon. Friend requests is as follows. Figures for the number of shareholders are taken from the latest published reports and accounts of the companies, which do not provide the figures for employee shareholders.


Date of privatisation

Net proceeds to HMG £ million

Number of shareholders

Profit/(loss) before privatisation £ million

Royal Ordnance (trade sale)1987185n/a26
Rolls Royce19871,028738,659120
Rover (trade sale)1988150n/a28
British Steel19882,437419,726207
10 Water Companies1989


Anglian Water1989


Northumbrian Water1989255,4766·4
North West Water1989244,49144·3
Severn Trent1989317,67397·5
Southern Water1989261,70465·1
South West Water1989129,06438·1
Thames Water1989680,816207·2
Welsh Water1989143,09924·9
Wessex Water1989188,54124·1
Yorkshire Water1989210,09155·7


n/a—Not available.

1 Approximate.

2 Part of BP since 1988. Shareholder figure given for 1987.

3 Proceeds went to the nationalised industry as vendor as follows:

Sealink: £66 million to British Rail;

Jaguar: £297 million to British Leyland;

Warship Yards: £54 million to British Shipbuilders.

4 Jaguar shares no longer listed—part of Ford. Figure as October 1989.

5 Includes £2,500 million debenture repayable to the Consolidated Fund.

6 Includes £73 million debenture repayable to the Consolidated Fund.

7 Shareholder figures for the water companies represent the number of original allocatees recorded on the interim register for each company. This information was originally given by the Minister with responsibility for Water in a Written Answer on 24 January 1989 (Vol. 165, col. 747.)