I have called on the UK Government to review the planned increase in rail fares for 2018. This follows news that rail fares in Britain will go up by an average 3.4% from 2 January 2018.
The increase is the biggest since 2013 and covers regulated fares, which includes season tickets, and unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets.
Rail fares have now witnessed an ever increasing price rise in each of the past 3 years. In January 2016 prices increased by a little over 1%, January 2017 saw an increase of nearly 2.5% and now this increase of 3.4% will put pressure on families.
Public sector workers, who have had their pay capped at 1% for the past seven years, will be hit badly by this increase in fares. Inflation has been hitting 3% meaning that people’s take home pay has been cut in real terms. This increase on the cost of living will harm working households further still.
Working households have seen no help from the UK Government. After seven years of the lowest wage growth since the Napoleonic wars the decision by the Government’s rail fares body to increase fares by 3.4% only rubs salt into the wound.
Many public sector workers in Delyn use the trains to travel to North Wales, Chester, and Liverpool. The 1% pay cap imposed on them the UK Government has seen their wages squeezed more than the private sector. This has meant that nurses, police officers, prison officers, firefighters, teachers have all seen a real terms wage cut. The increase in the costs of travel will only set to undermine their finances further.
Not only does this huge increase in rail fares have an impact upon people’s spending power, but it could also see the increase in tourism to North Wales decrease over time as the cost of travel increases. Tourism is an important industry for Delyn and many towns rely upon this seasonal trade to thrive. If this is reduced in any way it can harm the steps taken by community councils to support their residents. The UK Government need to scrap this high increase so that people can afford train travel.