By Jonathan Davies
Devolution of powers to new "city regions" across England could lead to buses becoming state-controlled, the boss of Stagecoach has warned.
Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said it could lead to a "confiscation of assets", explaining that re-regulation of buses would lead to state control.
Mr Griffiths told BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight that privatisation in the 1980s had resulted in better competition and services.
"If the chancellor's observations are taken at face value… you'd effectively see the confiscation of some assets overnight," he said.
"These businesses were privatised back in the 1980s - hundreds of millions of pounds were put into the development of the business and the staff.
"If you take the chancellor's observations at face value, you would effectively see the confiscation of some of these assets overnight.
"There's been no discussion that we're aware of with the Treasury about how that would work or any compensation for that. So I think all of this is a bit vague."
Mr Osborne had already made clear his intentions to create a northern economic powerhouse, and in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor expanded on plans to give Manchester and surrounding towns and cities an elected mayor in 2017.
Transport is likely to play a big part in Osborne's plans to create the northern economic powerhouse. He believes that even things as simple as getting buses to run on time could boost the economy by getting people to work on time.
But the Treasury is adamant that any plans to franchise buses would require a consultation.
A Treasury spokesperson said: "If the mayor who is elected wants to franchise buses, he or she will need to consult beforehand and consider all aspects of any decision."
The Chancellor delivers the Autumn Statement today (Wednesday 3 December). You can follow the latest news and updates on Fresh Business Thinking.
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