Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary will today meet commuters in Chatham, Kent and call on the Tory-led government to rethink the inflation-busting rail fare increases planned for each of the next three years.
Research by the Campaign for Better Transport shows how fare rises are now outstripping wage rises adding to the cost of living crisis facing families.
The Tory-led government has changed the funding formula for regulated rail fares from January 2012, allowing train companies to increase fares by 3% above inflation every year until 2015. As a result, commuters face average increases of 8 per cent a year, with many facing ticket price increases of 13 per cent. By 2015, rail fares will be on average 28.4 per cent higher.
At the same time, wages are predicted to be just 15 per cent higher by 2015 forcing families to spend a larger proportion of their income on the costs of getting to work. Next year alone, commuters will see their train fares rise four times faster than wages thanks to average earnings for 20 12 predicted to rise by just 2.2 per cent. The figures have been calculated by the Campaign for Better Transport using the latest wage and inflation forecasts from The Office for Budget Responsibility.
Speaking during her visit to the key commuter town of Chatham today, Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP will say:
“The Tory-led government is totally out of touch with the cost of living crisis facing commuters and fails to understand how these eye-watering rail fare rises will add to the burden on families. For many, the cost of getting to work is now the biggest single item in the monthly budget, bigger even than rent or mortgage payments.
“These fare rises are the direct consequence of the decision to cut too far and too fast, meaning commuters are having to pay more to plug the hole in the transport budget. With train fares set to rise four times faster than wages in the next year, Ministers should think again and give comm uters a break.”