Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Huppert Tells Government Rail Increases "Too Much To Deal With"



Cambridge Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert took the case of Cambridge’s long suffering rail commuters to the heart of government today (Thursday, September 15) saying massive ticket increases of eight per cent were too much for them to deal with.
 
Julian, Co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Transport Committee warned Transport Minister, Philip Hammond that prices are a major factor in determining whether people use the railways.
 
And he said that, despite the Lib Dems arguing for rail fare increases below inflation, the government had pushed prices up to three per cent above inflation. 
 
Julian raised the issue during Transport Questions in the House of Commons today (Thursday, September 15).
 
He said: “The government has gone for increases three per cent above inflation which means an eight per cent increase in rail and a seven per cent increase in London Transport. This is simply too much for people to deal with.”
 
Mr Hammond was unrepentant saying: “We will have to increase rail fares by three per cent in real terms in the next three years in order to protect our major investment programme of rolling stock, electrification and new infrastructure that the country needs.
 
“It is a tough decision but it is the right decision.”
 
Later Julian said: “Cambridge commuters were penalised time and time again by the Labour government which increased rail fares above inflation every year. We cannot continue on the same path and except people to use our rail network.
 
“People are struggling to make ends meet and they are being punished financially for trying to get to work. 
 
“The Lib Dems argued for increases below inflation to give commuters a chance and to encourage people to see the rail network as a viable alternative form of transport. Increases at this level will not encourage people to use the trains.
 
“This level of increase cannot be sustained year after year; something has got to give.”