Concern over more inflation-busting rail fare rises to come

By staff writers
August 17, 2013

Public transport campaigners say that the government is colluding with private rail companies to inflict more pain on passengers (or 'customers', as they insist on calling them) as they extract more profit from their pockets.

'Despite the small fall in inflation, most rail season tickets will still go up by a wage-busting 4.1 per cent next year," observed Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady, whose organisation recently backed the Action for Rail protests on dividends and profiteering.

"The increases are good news for rail operators, who will use increased fares to line the pockets of shareholders, but bad news for hard-pressed commuters who are having to hand over even more of their pay packets for poor quality services," Ms O'Grady commented.

"This week's figures also lay bare the government's inflation scam where benefits are set by the lower inflation rate, while rail fares and student loans are set using the higher rate.

"The Chancellor's use of CPI inflation to uprate social security payments and public sector pensions is nothing more than a con trick that will further reduce the incomes of those who are already badly off, including those who have lost their jobs, low-paid workers and retired people who rely on their public sector pension to get by," she said.

There is worse in the pipeline, analysts and campaigners now believe.

Transport activists also point out that UK taxpayers pay more in subsidy for private railways than many of their European equivalents do for publicly run services.

[Ekk/3]

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