The £196bn total comes close to this year’s health and social care budget (£141bn) and education budget (£69bn) combined.
Adding this to the public balance sheet would also have a dramatic impact on the UK’s public debt figures, increasing it to 94% of GDP, a level not seen since the 1960s. The CBI estimates that servicing this extra debt would cost an additional £2bn each year, putting further pressure on the public finances.
In addition to the up-front costs, the government would also have to pick up the ongoing investment costs associated with maintaining and modernising networks and services. Based on current plans in these industries, the costs are likely to stretch to £14.5bn a year.
And while these assets would generate revenues for the public sector, the profits are dwarfed by the overall costs of renationalisation – it would take a working lifetime to realise any return on the total public investment.
When challenged on the cost of renationalisation previously, the Labour leadership has suggested that it would not be willing to pay full market price to take the services back into government ownership. As well as the legal challenge they could expect in this scenario, there would also be a cost to savers and pensioners who are associated, through their pension fund or savings accounts, with the shareholders in the companies up for renationalisation. The CBI analysis suggests that the total loss to UK investors could be as much as £9bn, which averages at around £327 per household.