50 Years Ago: London Passenger Transport

This Act (the London Passenger Transport Act) was first introduced by Mr. Morrison as Minister of Transport in the Labour Government. and after being amended in some not very important respects, has been carried through by the Conservative “National” Government. Briefly, it replaces the multiplicity of tram, tube and bus concerns by a single undertaking, the London Passenger Transport Board. The members of the Board are appointed by a committee which, in turn, is appointed by the Government. The Board will operate under restrictions laid down in the Act and the shareholders of the separate undertakings will continue to draw dividends from their holdings in the undertaking approximately equal in amount to the dividends they drew before. The Act provides also that the workers employed shall be taken over on terms equivalent to those they formerly worked under.
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He (Morrison) used the form of undertaking known as “public utility corporation”, thus copying the Liberals and Tories, who created the Port of London Authority, The Central Electricity Board, the British Broadcasting Corporation and Imperial and International Communications Ltd. But apart from the attempted solution of certain economic problems thrown up by the development of transport, all of these public utility corporations leave ownership and the problems of the wage-earners exactly as they were before.
(From an article “The Labour Party at the Crossroads”, Socialist Standard, July 1933.)

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