In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that regulated rail fares will be capped at 6.2% (RPI + 1%) as opposed to 8.2%.
“Commuters often travel long distances to go to work and bring an income home.
“Train fares are expensive – and they’re set to go up well above inflation to pay for the much needed investment in new rail and new trains.
“But RPI plus 3% is too much.
“The Government will fund a reduction in the increase to RPI plus 1%.
“This will apply across National Rail regulated fares, across the London Tube and on London Buses.
“It will help the millions of people who use our trains,” the Chancellor said.
The Chancellor also announced the publication of the ‘National Infrastructure Plan‘ which identifies ‘over 500 projects’ to build over the next ‘decade and beyond’. The projects include roads, railways, power stations, broadband networks and airport capacity.
“The savings I’ve announced in the current budget have enabled me today to fund, pound for pound, £5 billion of additional public spending on infrastructure over the next three years.
“New spending by Network Rail, guaranteed by the Government, will bring a billion pounds more.
“And we are committing a further £5 billion to future projects in the next spending period, so the planning can start now.
“We can today give the go ahead around the country to 35 new road and rail schemes that support economic development.
“In the North West we will electrify the transpennine express between Manchester and Leeds, build the Manchester Airport and Crewe link roads and work with Merseyside to turn the vision of the Atlantic Gateway into reality.
“In Yorkshire and the Humber, there will be new stations and new tram capacity – and we will halve the tolls on the Humber Bridge.
“I want to pay tribute to my HFs the Members for Beverley and for Brigg and Goole for campaigning with other local MPs over many years to make this happen. Under this Government it has.
“In the North East we will bring forward investment on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
“In the South East, we will build a new railway link between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford that will create an estimated 12,000 new jobs.
“Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will get their Barnett share – and we’re working with them to improve the links between our nations, such as the M4 in South Wales and the overnight rail service to north of the border.”
Campaign for Better Transport said:
“We’re delighted that the Government has decided to ease the load on hard-pressed passengers, but rail fares are still a heavy burden, and commuters will face paying hundreds of pounds more for their season tickets in January at a time when they can ill afford it.
“The decision to limit fare hikes mustn’t just be a temporary measure to soften the Chancellor’s otherwise bad-news statement, but should also apply in 2013 and 2014 as the start of a policy to cut fares and make public transport truly affordable.”
A spokesperson for Network Rail said:
“We welcome government’s announcement to electrify the route between Manchester and Leeds, which will create a cleaner, faster and more reliable railway for passengers with much-needed additional capacity.
“The investment will improve transport links between key cities across the north, better connecting people to places of work and leisure.
“Electrifying the north trans-Pennine route is essential if we are to reduce the cost of running and maintaining the railway whilst improving services for customers.”