John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen has written today to every Hampshire Conservative and Lib Dem MP to urge them to support a vote in Parliament to oppose the steep increases in rail fares being proposed by the Tory-led government. He also calls on them to support a ban on rail companies increasing fares by more than one per cent above inflation.
Labour has called an opposition day debate in Parliament tomorrow on this important issue which directly affects many Southampton and Hampshire commuters. The debate will press the Government to restore the one per cent above inflation cap on annual fare rises for 2013 and 2014, and to ban train operators from increasing fares beyond that strict limit.
Mr Denham says in his letter “Your commuting constituents will not understand it if you fail to speak and vote for them tomorrow”.
- Inflation figures confirm that current RPI figure (Retail Price Index) is currently 3.2%. This means regulated rail fares are set to increase on average by 6.2%, with train companies allowed to add another 5% on top.
- That’s because the Tory-led Government changed the formula they use to regulate rail fares. Instead of using a formula of RPI +1%, like the previous Labour Government, they increased this to the current formula of RPI +3% after the last General Election.
- Labour believes that train companies should not be allowed to increase fares by more than one per cent above inflation across their routes. Hard-working commuters are already being hit by other cost of living increases in their everyday lives while their salaries remain the same.
- The annual season ticket from Southampton Central to London Waterloo may rise to above £5,000 – which is unacceptably high.
Mr Denham said:
“I will be voting against the government’s proposed rail fare increases, which are far too high. Hard-working commuters are already being hit by other cost of living increases in their everyday lives while their salaries remain the same. For many the daily commute is now their biggest household bill. Hampshire commuters greatly benefit the economy of this country, and their MPs ought to be standing up for them.
“I am genuinely worried that we might be approaching the tipping point, where people may be forced to give up their jobs because it has literally become too expensive for them to pay for their season ticket.
“The Government is doing nothing to relieve the pressure on hard-working families – it will be a disgrace if Tory and Lib Dem MPs don’t vote against these increases to protect the large number of their constituents who are commuters. If they believe this will be bad for their constituents, they should vote against it, not just talk about it. There is little point in opposing rail increases locally, only to vote the rises through in Westminster.”