Labour vows to slash rail fares by a third from January if Jeremy Corbyn wins election

Posted On: 
2nd December 2019

Labour will cut most rail fares by a third from January next year if it wins the election, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.

Jeremy Corbyn attacked what he called Britain's 'fragmented and privatised rail system'.
Credit: 
PA

In a move the party said would save the average commuter more than £1,000 a year, the Labour leader vowed to would bring in the 33% reduction for regular fares across England.

The plan would cover most peak time fares and season tickets, and Labour said it would represent the biggest ever reduction in rail charges.

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The party is also promising to ensure that workers who commute fewer than five days a week pay no more per journey than full-time workers who save money by paying for a weekly season ticket.

But the Tories branded it a "desperate attempt" to distract from Labour's Brexit position and questioned the party's costings.

Regulated rail fares are currently set to rise by 2.7% from January, in line with the rate of inflation.

But Labour is promising to scrap the existing system with a "simple, fair, affordable and transparent" regime of rail fares if it wins office, and claims that the average commuter is set to save £1,097

The party forecasts that the pledge will cost £1.5bn, drawn from existing Department for Transport budgets.

Mr Corbyn said: "Travelling by train is my favourite way of getting around the country but for too long a fragmented and privatised rail system has ripped-off passengers.

"Taking back control of our railways is the only way to bring down fares and create a railway network that is fit for the future.

"Labour will bring about real change on the railways because we are on the side of passengers."

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald meanwhile hit out at Britain's "complex, exploitative and expensive" ticketing system, vowing to axe "bewildering and outdated fares" and help part-time workers.

The party said it would set single daily fares at 1/10th of the price of a weekly season ticket, meaning those who commute part-time "will no longer incur higher per journey costs than full-time workers".

But the Conservatives were scathing about the promises, accusing Mr Corbyn of pushing an "ideological" plan to bring the railways back into public ownership.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "This is another desperate attempt from Labour to distract from their inability and unwillingness to be straight with people on where they stand on Brexit, and the fact they would raise taxes on low and middle income workers across the country."

He added: "The Conservatives will improve punctuality by integrating parts of the rail network, make ticketing and pricing more transparent and will invest £500 million in reopening branch lines closed under Labour.

"You simply cannot trust Corbyn to deliver what he claims. His ideological plans would wreck our economy, cost people their livelihoods and with the help of Nicola Sturgeon would waste the whole of next year on two more chaotic referendums."

The Tories also pointed to Labour's previous stint in office, saying regulated rail fares had risen by 4.9% on average between 2005 and 2010. They warned that Labour's nationalisation proposals would lead to "less investment and poorer services for passenger".