Accounting for the Severn Bridge

Heald, D. (1991) Accounting for the Severn Bridge. Financial Accountability and Management, 7(4), pp. 267-307. (doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0408.1991.tb00355.x)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Although the Severn bridge has been financed as a vote-funded service, the Severn Bridge Tolls Act 1965 required the publication of commercial-style ‘White Paper accounts’. The existence of this consistent source makes it possible to review the financial history to date of the Severn bridge, an interesting example of a case of government deciding that a capital-intensive infrastructural facility should break-even over its life. Two principal factors explain the everaccumulating deficiencies on the bridge account: the failure of successive governments to maintain the bridge toll in real terms; and the exceptional capital repairs required during the 1980s because of design faults and greater than expected loads. There are implications for the design of reporting systems for civil-service executive agencies and for the privatized ‘concession’-style financing packages for transport infrastructure which the present Government has now adopted.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heald, Professor David
Authors: Heald, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Journal Name:Financial Accountability and Management
Publisher:Blackwell Publishing
ISSN (Online):1468-0408
Published Online:28 June 2008

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record