Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, has launched Labour’s transport policy review with a promise that it will focus on how to relieve the pressure that rising transport costs are placing on families.
During simultaneous visits to further education colleges and school sixth forms in Norwich, London, Manchester and Luton today, Labour’s frontbench transport team has met 16-18 year olds and listened to their experiences of the impact on their education and work opportunities of rising train, bus and fuel prices and cuts to concessionary fares schemes and local bus services.
The focus on the cost of living will form part of a strand of work to be chaired by Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle, looking at issues of affordability and access to transport services.
Maria Eagle said:
“The Tory-led government just doesn’t understand the cost of living crisis being faced by families. Up and down the country people are feeling the squeeze from eye-watering rail fares, the rising cost of fuel and being hit by the loss of vital local bus services. That’s why I am determined to place the impact of rising transport costs on household budgets at the heart of Labour’s transport policy review.
“I am particularly worried about how hard young people are being hit by the loss of local bus services and the cuts to transport support for college and sixth form students. Together with the loss of EMA, these cuts risk young people not being able to afford to stay on in education, damaging the life chances of those from low and middle incomes families.
“Through our transport policy review, we will be listening to people’s views and experiences of transport in Britain and learning the lessons from what we got right and wrong in government. I want to find the fresh ideas that can get Britain better connected.”
Labour’s Transport Policy Review: Themes
The focus on affordability joins three other strands of work will be carried out as part of the policy review. Each will be led by a member of the frontbench transport team in parliament:
• How could better and more affordable transport help to reduce inequality and increase social mobility, and what more could be done to address isolation in our society? (led by Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Secretary of State and MP for Garston and Halewood);
• What is the role of transport in contributing to economic growth and jobs, and how can we better support the transport manufacturing sector? (led by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Shadow Transport Minister and MP for Poplar and Limehouse);
• How can transport best contribute to meeting the threat from climate change, and what other threats and opportunities will affect our transport needs in the future? (led by John Woodcock MP, Shadow Transport Minister and MP for Barrow and Furness);
• What changes could be made to put local communities in the driving seat of transport decision making, and how could public transport services be better delivered? (led by Andrew Gwynne MP, Shadow Transport Minister and MP for Denton and Reddish).
Labour’s Transport Policy Review: Principles
The review groups will listen to the views of the public, those working in the transport sector, experts and academics, and consider all policy suggestions put forward. However, in coming to policy conclusions, they will be guided by the following clear principles:
• Affordability. Labour believes that transport should be affordable and fairly priced to enable services to be accessed by the many, not just the few.
• Sustainability. Labour believes that transport should be sustainable an d part of the solution to tackling climate change, not part the problem.
• Community. Labour believes that transport decisions should be taken as close as possible to the people; with local communities engaged in the delivery of local services.
Each review will be tasked with ensuring that the principle of accessibility (regardless of disability) underpins the policies that emerge.
Labour’s Transport Policy Review: Engagement
Website: A transport policy review website www.BritainBetterConnected.org.uk has been launched, and is asking for views on:
• What did Labour get right/wrong during our time in government?
• What is the Tory-led government getting right/wrong and what should Labour be supporting/opposing?
• What are your priorities for improving our transport system?
Facebook: The review facebook page can be found by searching for ‘BritainBetterConnected’.
Twitter: Tweets can be sent to @bettertrip and will appear on the transport policy review website. Labour’s policy review hashtag is #freshideas.
Events: A series of roundtables in Westminster and across the UK will be held on each theme of the review and submissions to the review will be considered from a diverse range of organisations and individuals (including drawing on international best practice and experience).