Accounting for Producer Needs: The case of Britain's rail infrastructure
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Academic studies of the industries privatised in Britain since the mid-1980s have focused on regulation and performance. This paper discusses the impact of changes in accounting policies within the British railway industry, which has been almost completely neglected in the literature to date. The paper analyses the financial reporting of the railway infrastructure from 1992 to 2004: under state ownership, then as a listed company and finally as a ‘not-for-dividend’ entity. At each stage the accounting treatment of the infrastructure assets has been subject to major manipulation to suit the needs and convenience of the industry's management – not the users.