Train fare increases are never met with much gusto, as you would imagine. The reports that fares will increase by an average 6.2% in January, though in some cases the rises could be as much as 11%, will further strengthen the UK’s reputation of having some of the most expensive train fares in Europe.
At a time when we are supposed to be encouraging people to use public transport, these rises really do send the wrong message. More importantly, at a time when the cost of living is already high, it is going to be yet another tough pill to swallow for hard pressed commuters (some of whom spend up to 15% of their salary getting to work in London). From a personal perspective, I know my husband never looks forward to renewing his season ticket.
The option to drive isn’t much better either with fuel prices at some of their highest for years. I drive to work and have seen consistently high fuel bills for the past few years with the average week costing me about £30.
In both these cases, it is the Government pushing up the cost of living via taxation. Of the inflation plus 3% rise due on train fares, at least 2% is going to the treasury. Even more scandalously, 60% of the pump price is a result of Government taxation. If the Government wants to promote economic growth, it needs to let more of us keep our hard earned wages. Instead of buying goods and services, we are spending a significant portion of our wages getting to work instead.
I will certainly be lobbying our MP, James Duddridge, to pressure George Osborne to abandon these fare increases as well as supporting the Taxpayer Alliance ‘Freeze Fuel Tax’ campaign.