The Financial Times on 8 December carried a long review by Brian Groom and Sylvia Pfeifer of the 25th anniversary of the privatisation of British Gas. This included a highly interesting insert, for which additional research was done by Yan Morrell Y Alcover, on the trends in individual share ownership in the UK. The trend in individual share ownershp was unequivocally and strongly downwards - see Figure 1.
The article noted British Gas and other privatisations 'failed to reverse the decline in private share ownership that began in the 1960s.... By the end of the 1980s... individuals owned 20.3 per cent of UK equities... Although later water and electricity privatisations briefly lifted holdings back to the 1980s levels, they had dropped to 16 per cent by the millenium. Capita Registrars suggests ownership hit an all-time low in May 2010, before recovering to 12 per cent in August 2011. In 1963 private investors had been majority shareholders in UK-listed companies, owning 54 per cent.'
Readers can find the entire analysis here.