Labour has announced measures that will save rail passengers a thousand pounds if the party is elected next week, in a move that will put further pressure on the Conservatives – who have overseen enormous fare rises.
Since the Tories entered Downing Street in 2010, the average rail fare has risen by an enormous 27%, far ahead of the rate of inflation – and are projected by the OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) to rise by 50% from 2010-2022 if they remain in office – and by a further £162 if the Tories return to the RPI+1% that they were forced by Labour to abandon in 2013.
The Conservative party has failed to make any commitment in its 2017 manifesto to freeze fares.
The BBC covered the announcement this morning, but managed to screw up its rolling headline:
Labour’s press release states:
Rail passengers £1,000 better off under Labour
The next Labour Government will put rail passengers first by putting the brakes on rapidly increasing rail fares and saving commuters £1,014 on their season tickets
Under a Labour Government, passengers will on average save £1,014 on their rail season tickets over the next parliament, compared to the potential cost under a Tory Government.
Since 2010, regulated rail fares have risen by 27.1 per cent, increasing the average cost of a season ticket by £594.
The 2015 Conservative manifesto included a commitment to keeping rail fares frozen in real terms. However, regulated fares were capped at the Retail Price Index (RPI), which consistently over-estimates inflation, rather than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Labour will cap regulated fair rises at the Consumer Price Index (CPI), using the money saved through bringing rail franchises back into public ownership. As more services come into public ownership, greater amounts of savings become available, and Labour will aim to introduce further fare caps or reductions.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
“Under the Conservatives, rail fares have sky-rocketed and tickets are some of the most expensive in Europe.
“Labour will take Britain’s railways back into public control and put more money into people’s pockets by capping fares. This will save commuters £1,014 on their rail season tickets over the next Parliament, as part of our plan to promote services for the many, not the few.”
Andy McDonald Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“Theresa May’s failure to commit to freezing rail fares shows just how out of touch they are.
“Under the Conservatives, fares have risen three times faster than wages, passenger satisfaction is plummeting, punctuality has fallen to a 10 year low and promised upgrades have either been delayed by years or scrapped altogether.
“Privatised rail has failed and it will take more than tinkering around the edges to deliver much needed improvements for passengers. Labour will take the railways back into public ownership and put passengers first by capping fares.”
The 2017 Tory manifesto has failed to make any commitment to keeping rail fares frozen in real terms, meaning rail fares are likely to rise above inflation (RPI) if the Conservatives win the General Election.
Between 2011 – 2013 the Tories allowed fares to rise by RPI plus 1 per cent. If fares continue to increase by the same rate, the average cost of a season ticket will rise by an extra £160 by the end of the next parliament, compared to being frozen at RPI.
The average annual season ticket reportedly costs £2,788, according to the OBR. Regulated rail fares under the coalition/Tory governments have risen by 27.1% since 2010, which means that the average season ticket in 2010 would have cost £2,194 – or £594 less than in 2017.
If regulated rail fares rise by RPI from now until 2022 then the average cost of a season ticket will be £3286 in 2022. But if they rise by RPI+1% from now until 2022 then the average cost of a season ticket will be £3448 in 2022. That is a difference of £162.
Under a Labour government passengers will on average save £349 on their rail season tickets in the final year of the next Parliament compared to the cost under a Tory government – and save on average £1,014 on their rail season tickets across the next parliament compared to the cost under a Tory Government.
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